HealthInfoNet, Maine’s health information exchange (HIE), will incorporate image sharing functionality by Dell to enable physicians to access the first statewide medical image archive, reports Healthcare IT News.
Almost 2 million medical images are generated in Maine every year, including X-rays, mammograms, CT scans and magnetic resonance images (MRI). By centralizing image-based medical information in a cloud-based repository, physicians will be able to assess their patients’ results against those of individuals suffering from similar conditions. This could lead to improved quality of care in healthcare facilities and a greater understanding of a variety of illnesses and treatment methodologies.
Currently, patient medical images are stored in several locations throughout Maine and transferred to media such as CDs when needed. Officials claim healthcare providers across the state could save as much as $6 million per year in reduced storage and transportation costs by using the cloud-based system.
“When a patient has an X-ray or MRI at a facility outside our system, it can take days for their doctor at Maine Medical Center, for example, to get a copy of that image,” Barry Blumenfeld, chief information officer at MaineHealth, told the news source. “This new service will save time for our providers and their patients. With instant access to a patient’s images, medical staff can treat them much faster and the patient won’t have to take the time to pick up and deliver CDs.”
According to Information Week, HealthInfoNet was launched in 2009 and currently supports electronic health records of more than 1 million people across the state. Officials at Dell and HealthInfoNet will conduct a preliminary pilot program to test the technology over the summer, and expect to launch the service in the fall of 2013.