When Sajid Ahmed took the job as Chief Information and Innovation Officer at South Los Angeles-based Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital (MLKCH) he realized he had been handed an extremely unique opportunity: The chance to design a health information technology platform for clinical care from the ground up. Ahmed was the second hire for a project to build a completely new facility to replace a hospital that had been closed in 2007.
Studies of mobile devices and physicians show a continued growth of ownership and an increasing use at work. A 2015 study showed that 98 percent of physicians own a smartphone and 92 percent of them reported that they are useful for work.  Exactly how they use their devices while at work, however, differs significantly by generation. While every physician carries their smartphone with them today, the younger they are the more likely they’ll be pulling them out in clinical settings.
In 2015, there were three times as many smartphones sold than there were babies born every day. With a statistic like that, it’s no wonder that mobile technology is redefining all sectors of 21st century society, including healthcare. Today, mobile access to patient information, diagnostic tools and provider-to-provider communication is transforming care delivery at hospitals.
For many years now, radiologists have practiced their speciality on workstations in reading rooms, sending reports to referring physicians via email or other hospital communications systems. Unlike the days of film and light boxes, when radiologists and referring physicians would discuss patient care while viewing images, today’s radiology workflow rarely includes face-to-face meetings with other providers and almost never involves interactions with patients. This workflow, however, is increasingly under pressure to change. New research shows that in-person communications between radiologists and referring physicians improves patient care.
I’ve worked in medical imaging for over 25 years and in that time I’ve seen the industry take amazing strides forward on the road to better patient care. When I compare today’s technology stack, the clinical breakthroughs, image quality and support for interoperability to where they were when I first began my career, it’s remarkable how far we’ve come. Industry players have matured from a proprietary, don’t share anything approach, to embracing standards and interoperability focused on improving patient care and cutting health care spending.
Clinicians from Cleveland Clinic and UC San Francisco Discuss Using Enterprise Viewer at Annual Gathering
The impact of cross-platform and mobile access to patient images is changing the workflow of radiologists, including their professional conferences and continuing medical education (CME). At the Society of Abdominal Radiology (SAR) 2016 annual meeting, BYOD support for accessing patient images played a significant role in the individual experience of participants. The conference’s “Small Bowel Imaging Hands-On Workshop” and Case of the Day program allowed attendees to experience how enterprise image access from laptops, smartphones and tablets will transform both their training and their day-to-day workflow.
When providers and healthcare institutions look at adopting new technology into clinical practice, their first consideration is the impact on patient care. To find information and evidence that a new technology is safe and effective for patient care, providers turn to peer-reviewed, published research. These reports and studies of new technology provide supporting data and evidence that a new technology will improve patient care.
This year’s HIMSS was another massive event, leaving no doubt about the critical role that health IT continues to have in all aspects of healthcare. The 2016 show had 42,000 attendees and 1200 exhibitors; it was virtually almost impossible to get around the entire exhibit floor, not to mention the conference panels and education sessions. Rising above the noise were strong themes of interoperability and the increasing presence of the cloud, both of which shifted from topics of discussion to product demonstrations and implementation showcases.
Mobile image-viewers have the power to increase provider access to images both internally and remotely, which can lead to faster interpretation/consultations and improved patient outcomes. Selecting a zero foot-print enterprise image-viewer, however, is a complicated process for clinical environments. In choosing the right clinical image-viewer, a multitude of factors must be considered including integration with existing picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) and other radiology information management systems, security, standards support, performance and more.