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Increase the Clinical Value of EHRs

Published February 16, 2016 2:36 PM by Silas Gossman

[Editor’s Note: this blog was originally written by Lorelle Lapstra, VP, Healthcare Products, with Calgary Scientific]

Over the past five years, hospitals and health systems have invested millions of dollars to implement electronic health records (EHR). Today 8 of 10 physicians have an EHR, but much of how they use them has been focused on meeting federal requirements for meaningful use. To give EHRs the clinical value and actual usefulness that providers expect, they need to be much more than data entry tools. For clinical use, physicians need EHRs that provide a full patient profile complete with images, medications, lab results and more.

Getting to that single point of access requires that EHRs have the ability to access and share patient information from clinical care systems, which requires new features and functions. Adding an enterprise image-viewer with FDA Class II clearance for diagnosis, for example, not only allows an EHR to access patient images but also turns it into a diagnostic tool. It’s also critical to have that clearance whether the image-viewer is running on a mobile, laptop or desktop platform.

Intermountain Healthcare (IMH), recognizing the need to get more value from their EHR, implemented an enterprise image-viewing tool for its network of 26 hospitals. The organization is also in the midst of converting from a home-grown EHR, called HELP2, to Cerner and wanted an enterprise image-viewer that would work with both. IMH has dubbed its Cerner implementation iCentra.

“We chose ResolutionMD because it is platform agnostic,” explains Randy Tebbs, imaging systems manager at IMH. “It provides a really light weight tool for our providers that enables them to access patient images from any PACS whether they’re using HELP2 or iCentra.”

When providers using iCentra want to access a patient image, the EHR defaults to this image-viewer allowing them to access any DICOM image without logging in again, re-selecting the patient and jumping through other access hoops. Tebbs has seen an increased use of the image-viewer, which demonstrates that this simple but powerful access solution is working for providers. Each time the image-viewer is implemented at an IMH hospital or clinic, Tebbs sees an uptick in overall image access. “Our affiliated physician use has also increased quite a bit,” he adds.

IMH’s investment in another tool in the midst of a long-term, large-scale EHR deployment underscores the need for added tools to make EHRs truly useful in clinical environments.

Take a page from IMH's experience and learn more about how an enterprise image-viewer can quickly increase the value of your EHR investment.

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posted by Silas Gossman

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