A picture is worth a thousand words. Image pointers bring richness to EMR content. Whether it is physician to patient consultation or physician to physician consultation, images elevate comprehension to a higher level. Insertion of image pointers into an EMR may be a luxury for now but is fast becoming a necessity. In many institutions, implementation of image pointers is thought to be somewhat of a routine streamlined process. A web link is displayed next to the findings of a diagnostic report. When clicked, it takes the user to a little imaging world created by the image content provider. Click, drag, move and flip – you can see images of the exam in question.
Are all image pointers created equal? Not necessarily…
A one size fits all type of universal viewer clamped onto black box VNA infrastructures can only show the content in a generic fashion. Clinically meaningful image content presentation sometimes moves beyond the scope of VNA capability. For them a chest x-ray and a beating echocardiographic image may look the same – a DICOM object. However, there is a world of difference as to how they need to be presented from a clinician’s perspective to be useful and effective. What about non image objects that are specific to imaging workflow? Robotic, DICOM minded universal viewers tend to conveniently ignore such clinically relevant information. Non radiologic and non-imaging ECG type exams are generally viewed as inconvenient deliverables for most universal viewing solutions. You may have to settle for a link to a PDF at best.
In summary, solutions that think imaging through radiology and with DICOM only tunnel vision are bound to produce inferior image pointers from an enterprise level patient-centric perspective. To fix the situation, fortunately, we don’t have to spend a lot on some high priced special solutions. We just have to invest in smarter solutions that understand both image content delivery and clinical workflow.
PICOM365 by ScImage is a unique solution in the industry that combines multi-departmental end to end imaging workflow with clinically relevant image content delivery and with an optional built-in VNA. At the department level, it provides complete PACS functionality along with robust tools for diagnostic reading and reporting. Auto discrete data capture during imaging procedures creates a clinically rich environment for advanced diagnostic reporting. All reporting workflows are natively built into the core foundation that include traditional dictation-transcription, voice recognition based self-reporting, evidence based structured reporting and institution specific custom reporting. In addition to various flavors of HL7 report distribution, it is easier to output discrete data to an EMR to meet meaningful use requirements from an imaging workflow perspective. Obviously, image pointers produced by such a system have comprehensive diagnostic information. Static radiology images, dynamic cardiology images, endoscopic videos, various audio clips, ECG like waveforms, Holter like modalities that capture information in documents, pathology microscopic images, and other generic pictures from ophthalmology, dermatology like departments are presented the way physicians appreciate. Delivering this type of rich content to all modern computing devices with varying form factors is the value PICOM365 brings to your institution.
Investigate all your options before making that strategic decision on how to implement image pointers in your EMR.