Following in hospitals' footsteps, HIEs adopt cloud-based imaging

Following the example of numerous hospitals across the country, HEALTHeLINK, a regional health information exchange (HIE) in western New York, has adopted a cloud-based image storage and exchange system that enables providers to access diagnostic-quality images from multiple facilities.

Using technology provided by eHealth Global Technologies (eHGT), a Rochester, N.Y., firm, OptumInsight's Axolotl subsidiary integrated the cloud-based imaging system into HEALTHeLINK. The advantage of the integration is that providers can access the images through the HIE website without interrupting their workflow or requiring special security measures, according to a release.

The Rochester RHIO and HealtheConnections RHIO of Central New York also use eHGT's product. Optum has rebranded the solution as Axolotl Image Exchange, which suggests it might offer the service to Axolotl's other HIE customers. eHBT's website predicts that many other HIEs will soon adopt its solution.

The website says eHGT's solution has been designed to work with HIEs. The only hardware requirements are "edge servers" located at each imaging facility to handle communications with local Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS).

According to eHGT, more than 100 healthcare facilities are already utilizing eHealth Global's services, including University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, University of Rochester (N.Y.) Medical Center, John Hopkins Hospital and Health System in Baltimore, Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, (Omaha) Nebraska Medical Center, Franciscan Health System, and University of California San Diego Medical Center.

"We expect the implementation of this service to lead to a reduction of unnecessary imaging exams, thus minimizing patient radiation exposure and reducing the cost of care," HEALTHeLINK Executive Director Dan Porecca said in a press release. "Immediate access to images, when and where they are needed, will also allow our physicians to provide faster diagnosis and treatment, with tighter care coordination and improved outcomes. Finally, the burden of reproducing, transporting, and attempting to view physical storage media such as CDs will be lifted from patients and caregivers alike."

To learn more:
- read OptumInsight's announcement
- here's more information about eHGT

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