How to Select an Enterprise Imaging System

This list was written by Mark Watts, CRA. He has studied at the Harvard School of Public Health and Portland State University. He co-authored the textbook “Communication and Information in Radiology.” 

Lately I have been focused on understanding the concept of the enterprise imaging archive (EIA), sometimes referred to as a vendor neutral archive (or VNA), and now, I’ve been thinking about the role it plays in the future of the connected healthcare system.

When I think of the connected healthcare system, I think of pure connectivity. I think of a radiologist at her son’s soccer game being able to bring up an x-ray on her mobile device for a quick look. I think of healthcare facilities being able to get images exactly where they need to be, exactly when they need it. The first step for us to achieve this future, right now at least, is an EIA. Following are my guidelines for taking that step, or choosing your EIA.

When selecting an EIA, here is a checklist you should use. Look for a product that provides:

  • Internal DICOM compliance for all DICOM objects and at least the following services: store, storage commit, query/retrieve, and echo
  • HIPAA-compliant security features including encryption, data integrity validation, and intrusion detection notification
  • Native-format data preservation, so that the image source can recognize and use it
  • Support for IHE integration profiles for an image archive and image manager
  • Validation services on incoming data–both at the patient level (against the ADT system) and exam level (against a department system scheduler/order filler)
  • Support for multiple patient ID types and formats to relate to different patient ID types for the same patient via a master patient identifier, and to keep the demographic information current
  • Organization into different storage groups, based on the source devices, source departments, and/or source locations with separate access controls and data management behaviors for each storage group
  • A set of administrative tools for authorized users to maintain their image information (view, update, delete). These tools should include at least a rudimentary image viewer for QA operations. There should also be a utility to search for stands, select the desired exams, and send them to a particular destination
  • The ability to scale to meet your enterprise needs

I will be posting more information on the challenges of implementing an EIA, so please “stay tuned!”

Posted in Blog, Healthcare IT

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