RT Image January 24, 2011 : Page 15

| EXE C UTIVE F O R UM | Currently, a medi-um-sized hospital’s annual primar y imag-ing data storage can equal the volume of data available through Google Earth – and this volume continues to grow rapidly. Moving short-and long-term archiv-ing to the cloud takes advantage of the Internet’s unlimited storage capacity and eliminates the need for expensive, non-interoperable back-up Michael V. Wall is CEO of DICOM Grid. systems. The combina-tion of this secure cloud storage with unlimited 24/7 searching, viewing, and exchanging of images by authorized users means that those sub-scription fees are doing triple duty. DICOM Grid and accurate than conducting searches through multiple, fragmented retrieval points. Raised satisfaction . A secure, affordable, easy-to-use, global search engine for medical imaging can be a powerful physician productivity and satisfaction tool. There is no escaping the fact that shortages in specialists are only going to get worse, and this technology offers a powerful tool to healthcare organizations in order to attract and retain top talent and encourage referrals from private practice physicians. This fact is particularly true in specialties that rely on the ability to compare and contrast prior imaging studies, including oncology, cardiology, neurology, and orthopedics – specialties that drive higher margin procedures at healthcare facilities. Radiology practices have been looking for ways to make archives come alive for a long time. The goal has always been to keep images within range, where they can contribute to the quality of care, instead of sending them into the abyss. The sophistication of today's technology is heightening the reality of this goal in ways that business planners and clinical practitioners can appreciate. i Streamlined workflow . Web-based applications allow providers to streamline workflows and eliminate or divert training costs. Cutting out the time and red tape of gathering relevant images generated by multiple image sources over months and years frees up staff for other duties. And anyone who is comfortable using Google already knows how to search and retrieve images from a Web-based storage and retrieval system. That's part of the beauty of cloud-based management: many people are already familiar with the technology. Being able to search and locate images from anywhere means sharp reductions in duplicate imaging studies. This accom-plishes three goals at once, which is especially critical in emergency medicine. It prevents delays in diagnosis and treat-ment. It reduces the amount of radiation exposure for patients. And it cuts costs. It seems inevitable that as these elements go down, the quality and value of care must go up. In turn, patient, physician, staff, and payer satisfaction also increase. Clinicians can always confer in real time. But they can also access each other's input through expansive annotation. A system that enables authorized physicians to fully annotate any image and allow other providers to review and comment on that annotation is a tremendous advantage. The ability to actually exchange images delivers enormous collaborative value to referring physicians and other clinicians involved in a patient’s care. Accurate repor ting . Easy access to images simplifies the production of strong analytics and timely, accurate reporting. In the future, there will be a premium on these functions as providers work to bolster decision support, expand evidence-based protocols, and meet government and payer requirements for quality reporting. Reaching out to a single, comprehensive access point in the cloud is considerably easier, more cost-effective i | Michael V. Wall is CEO of Phoenix-based DICOM Grid, a provider of a cloud-based platform for medical imaging management. For more information, go to www.dicomgrid.com. Direct comments and questions to editorial@rt-image.com. i |www .rt -imag e . c om| January 2 4 , 2 011 | 15 |

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