McKesson spent a good deal of its time at HIMSS15 showcasing a new, vendor-neutral IT suite aimed at helping healthcare providers orchestrate workflows and increase interoperability—not least by image-enabling their EHR systems.
Called Conserus, the software array offers enterprise worklists driven by clinical and business logic, an enterprise image repository and a clinical data exchange.
HIMSS was winding down at Chicago’s McCormick Place on April 16, when Tomer Levy, McKesson's general manager of workflow and infrastructure solutions, discussed the news with ImagingBiz via email.
“Consolidating images to a vendor neutral archive (VNA) allows physicians to have instant access to entire records, regardless of where the images were taken,” he said, adding that Conserus allows provider orgs to centralize images in a cohesive repository. This, he said, will allow physicians to store and access all images and documents from a single source that can be shared throughout healthcare systems and even across regional health information exchanges (HIEs).
At the same time, centralizing imaging data allows healthcare providers to comply with quality regulations as well as keep up with accreditation considerations for physicians.
“Some very distinct examples in imaging are critical results reporting for diagnostic studies and the completion of peer reviews for primary interpretation of images,” said Levy. “In the future we expect to see more requirements being imposed, both by the regulatory bodies and by the payers, which will require measurement and tracking of quality procedures in diagnostic imaging. A focus on quality workflows must be part of the conversation for any health system considering investment in diagnostic imaging solutions.”
Leveraging the investment
Asked how hospitals might tap the Conserus suite to get the most bang for the buck from their EHR investment, Levy replied that, for starters, better workflows can foster more robust collaboration between radiologists and ordering physicians.
“Images can now be pulled up anywhere there’s a tablet or smartphone, creating many more opportunities for radiologists to be seen as trusted advisors,” he said. Still more value can be realized, he added, when clinical information is integrated “directly into the imaging cockpit, so that lab reports, ER notes or any other data is automatically presented to radiologists when and where they need it.”
“This goes both ways,” he said, “as relevant images should then become part of the longitudinal record because they contain information beyond the written report that can be mined later.”
As U.S. healthcare transitions from fee-for-service to value-based care, the knee-jerk reaction is often to focus on measures to decrease the number of imaging procedures that are being performed, Levy noted. He suggested the smarter adjustment—better for all parties, foremost among them the patients—is pivoting to deliver the correct image at the right time.
The Conserus package of flexible solutions, he said, will facilitate that move while also giving patient-care teams the ability to look at any patient folder.
“There are no ‘four walls’ for healthcare organizations when they’re thinking about healthcare information-access needs,” concluded Levy. “The healthcare enterprise can have thousands of users. Now the expectation is that hundreds of thousands of patients will be able to access their health information. This needs to be kept in the vision and requirements of a healthcare provider’s content-management strategy.”