Radiologist: Cloud-based image exchange is all upside

Cloud-based medical data exchange has "neatly addressed" the major challenges of older methods--namely exchanging files on CDs, says Michael Trambert, lead radiologist for PACS reengineering for the Cottage Health System and Sansum Clinic in Santa Barbara, Calif.

"Files are exchanged in minutes--reliably, securely and at low cost," Trambert writes in a post on the HIStalk blog. "That includes exchanges between proprietary IT systems that don't normally ‘talk to each other.' The cloud mediates the exchanges as easily as if it was email being sent."

Sharing images and other medical data on formats such as CD, he notes, isn't just inconvenient. It also can lead to duplicative tests and cause delays in diagnosis and treatment for critical patients.

Trambert and a colleague studied one early adopter of cloud data-sharing, Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center (VCU), and found the method improved ease of use, speed and dependability.

"Transfers are trouble-free," he writes.

Healthcare has become more adept at using cloud-based technology to share medical data.

A recent survey by Harris Interactive for the Optum Institute, for example, found nearly 60 percent of CIOs from organizations that have both an electronic health record and a health information exchange said they plan to invest in "cloud-based open systems."

The respondents' top reasons for going to the cloud included access to additional applications (57 percent) and additional functionality (56 percent). Among the CIOs who favor the cloud, 86 percent said they believed their current systems would be interoperable with new cloud-based technologies.

And a new $200 million government-backed effort to advance the use of big data could give it another boost: the program includes funds for a multitude of healthcare projects, including technologies to collect, de-identify, validate, archive and share large imaging files.

To learn more:
- read the HIStalk blog post

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