Image sharing through the cloud reduces costs while improving care at breast centers, according to a presentation given at the National Consortium of Breast Centers (NCBC) annual conference last week in Las Vegas.
Denise Shafer, an application analyst for Good Samaritan Hospital in Vincennes, Ind., said in her presentation that the lack of efficiency in sharing patients' imaging files and reports was impairing the delivery of care to breast cancer patients by slowing the rate at which clinicians could work, AuntMinnie.com reported.
"Until recently, care was sometimes delayed for several days because patients would arrive at Good Samaritan's breast center without the necessary imaging files," Shafer said. "The time and effort to retrieve the studies slowed clinicians' work and was frequently frustrating and expensive."
The hospital's adoption of a cloud-based information exchange service made it possible for images and reports to arrive within minutes of a request, enabling patients to be seen on that same day. In addition, the could-based service offers several other advantages, according to Shafer, such as the fact that it doesn't require extra hardware or software, is vendor neutral, and includes a flash-based viewer and secure encryption protocol.
"The cloud service costs far less than receiving studies on CDs or via virtual private network, is significantly more reliable than the CDs, and does not require dedicated IT support and maintenance as a VPN," Shafer said.
Good Samaritan's experience seems to mirror the experience of other institutions that are moving toward a cloud-based image sharing solution. At the American Roentgen Ray Society Annual Meeting in Vancouver last year, David Mendelson, M.D., chief of clinical informatics at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, reported that Phase 1 of the Radiological Society of North America's Image Share project demonstrated that patients found cloud technology was a faster, more efficient way of exchanging and storing their medical images than current options.