The Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine (SIIM, formerly SCAR) met last week in Providence, Rhode Island. Some of the hot topics included the following:
Information Sharing Among Enterprises
A notable focus at SIIM was the need for enterprises to share information outside their own walls. Many business needs are driving this requirement, including the RHIO (regional healthcare information organization) initiative and more physician/hospital joint ventures in outpatient imaging. Several solutions, such as storage gateways and data repositories that facilitate cross-enterprise document and image sharing, were discussed. As the technology to develop such gateways improves, a number of initiatives are being launched to enable the sharing of information across different provider networks.
The PACS market appears to be shifting from first-time implementations to replacements. Several vendors have indicated that the majority of their sales are coming from the replacement of another vendor’s PACS. One of the most difficult issues with PACS replacement lies with data migration. The time and expense incurred with PACS data migration and the solutions to this problem continue to be hot topic.
One idea that is gaining support is the development of enterprise archives that adhere rigorously to DICOM standards. PACS sites forced to migrate data are being much more careful about avoiding the need to ever do this again. In addition, these archives would store not only radiology data but also cardiology, pathology, dermatology and endoscopy data. Separating the enterprise archive from the rest of the PACS application provides a central repository for all of a healthcare facility’s data, eliminating the independent departmental data silos that exist in many institutions.
3 D & Advanced Visualization
3D and advanced visualization were also engaging topics at SIIM this year. A number of health care facilities have overcome the challenge of managing workflow in 3D. Instead of attempting to fit 3D into the radiologists' existing workflow, they are using technologists to do it in a centralized workflow model, managed as a separate business unit. This process not only facilitates 3D post-processing in a production mode using less expensive resources, but it also enables billing to be done reliably and efficiently.