For years, a group of Philadelphia-area institutions have been sharing diagnostic imaging results. Now that they've been in business for a while, though, the groups have stopped to see just how often their shared data has actually been needed. As it turns out, building the imaging RHIO seems to have been a pretty good idea. After analyzing the overlap in patient populations between two major participants, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital (TJUH) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, they found that about 15 percent of patients were imaged at both institutions. The group concluded that there's substantial opportunity to benefit from sharing images, particularly as researchers learn what tests patients require, when they get the studies and what their demographics are.
The Philadelphia Health Information Exchange (PHIE)--which began sharing images in 2003--serves 4 million patients, 55 hospitals and 30 otherwise competitive health systems. Participants include The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, TJUH, Presbyterian Medical Center and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. To share information, the exchange uses Hx Technologies' iHistory, a managed peer-to-peer service which routes data by placing a proprietary network appliance at each imaging provider's location. The exchange indexes patient demographic and imaging data in near real-time.