The über platform
Workflow tools for an increasingly distributed radiology are important, but if those workflow tools can be built on a broader health care intelligence platform that has access to all health care enterprise information systems—even better. That is Microsoft’s play with its radiology workspace within its Amalga product. While it is possible to launch, for instance, Epic’s EHR, from PACS, the key is limiting the data feeds to only that which is needed so that the radiologist does not have to search the entire record, says Sean Sigmon, senior product marketing manager, Microsoft Health. (This is what Paul Chang, MD, referred to in a talk earlier in the day as “data dimension reduction to provide tactical awareness.”) “We are empowering PACS, not doing PACS,” adds John Strauss. Amalga achieves this through an elaborate system of pointers (don’t ask me to explain what pointers are) and real-time data feeds delivered where the data needs to go, including the point of care, via all available means, mobile included. “Understanding imaging is just one use case for Amalga,” adds Sigmon. “Amalga allows us to do predictive modeling and produce modified early warning systems to recognize when a patient is deteriorating, to understand the critical points at which someone is going south.” It also can be applied to something as mundane as bed cleaning, a key patient satisfaction determinant for anyone left lingering in the ED or OR recovery waiting for a bed, not to mention a throughput driver. “A simple solution that has big financial implications,” Sigmon notes.