246933 Impact of Inter-Hospital Radiologic Image Sharing on Transfer Times and Ultimate Dispositions

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 9:10 AM

Harinder Dhindsa, MD, MPH , Emergency Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University, Medical College of Virginia, Richmond, VA
Renee Reid, MD , Emergency Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University, Medical College of Virginia, Richmond, VA
Veronica Sikka, MD, PhD, MHA, MPH , Department of Emergency Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
Background: When patients are transferred from one hospital to another, federal regulations require that radiologic studies and/or their interpretations be included. Waiting for studies to be copied often delays patient transport. With time-sensitive diagnoses (e.g.., aortic aneurysm, acute stroke, etc), these delays can result in adverse outcomes.

Objective: To implement a program by which radiologic images can be sent to a cloud and immediately downloaded at the receiving institution. This prevents delays in patient transfers and allows the receiving physician to mobilize necessary resources to make timely dispositions based on the imaging obtained from the transferring hospital.

Methods: Emix, a commercial, cloud based, electronic medical information exchange service is compatible with Digital Imaging and Communication Standard for Medical Imaging (DICOM) based image and information management systems. The Patient Transfer Center at Virginia Commonwealth University used Emix uploads for four months as a pilot with two referring hospitals. This study examined the barriers to adoption and utilization of Emix.

Results: In the first four months, 624 images were transferred. Identified barriers included obtaining buy-in from key stakeholders, such as the IT, legal, and compliance departments of the sending facility. Once the system was in place, recurrent education of the referring physicians and their radiology technicians was required to achieve a high level of participation.

Conclusion: Early experience with utilization of Emix has proven beneficial to facilitating rapid patient transfers and for viewing images prior to patient arrival. Within the year, this service will be expanded to all 12 major referring hospitals.

Learning Areas:
Administration, management, leadership
Communication and informatics
Provision of health care to the public

Learning Objectives:
Discuss barriers to implemntation of a cloud based image transfer system at a tertiary academic medical center. Describe key stakeholders in implementation of a cloud based image transfer system between hospitals.

Keywords: Health Information Systems, Information System Integration

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a strong background in health policy and administration and have participated in the implementation and analysis of the impact on health care informatics on patient delivery and outcomes.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.