Maine HIE Launches Statewide Imaging Archive

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The 23rd state admitted to the United States is now claiming to be its first with a statewide medical image archive.

In conjunction with the Maine health information exchange, HealthInfoNet, and Dell, the new, open-source system will offer cloud-based storage and sharing of individual images across 25 of its 39 hospitals and 182 of 600 physician practices in its pilot form.

Amy Landry, a spokesperson for HealthInfoNet, told Computer World the reason the system works in Maine is because participants agree not to compete over patient data in the small, predominantly rural populations there. HIEs elsewhere “haven't been able to get off the ground because of that complication," she said.

HealthInfoNet estimates that nearly 2 million images are generated in the state annually, accounting for 45 TB of data; pilot participants account for 1.4 million of these. In the next seven years, the system is expected to save $6 million by eliminating media duplication and mailing costs.

According to a press release from the HIE, the image-sharing system will link all images to individual patients via unique identifiers, allowing providers to create a deeper patient profile that developers hope will reveal potential health risks over time.

The service is expected to go live statewide by 2013.