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By Kim Garriott, Principal Consultant, Logicalis Healthcare Solutions

Developing an enterprise imaging strategy that was in lock-step with your electronic health record (EHR) optimization program was the beginning of most healthcare organizations’ digital transformation.  But even when you have the most sophisticated EHR solution in place and have married patients’ digital images to their individual records, your transformation journey has only just begun. New technologies – like deep machine learning and digital pathology, for example – that are already on the horizon will require healthcare organizations to become much more “digitally mature” to be ready for the coming wave of image-related data and its intelligent use – and another big wave is coming soon.

The number of clinical images captured and stored each year throughout America’s healthcare system is already staggering: An estimated 36 million MRIs and 74 million CT scans were performed in the United States in 2017 alone, and that just scratches the surface.1 Consider too the myriad of wound care and other visual condition assessments taken with smartphones, digital images acquired from surgical scopes, cardiology images, and even point-of-care ultrasounds captured annually, and it’s easy to see why maturing enterprise imaging strategies must remain top-of-mind for today’s healthcare CIOs, and why the American healthcare market is hotly anticipating the release of the HIMSS Analytics Digital Imaging Adoption Model (DIAM), a multi-stage maturity model to be released in the U.S. during HIMSS18.

To help you prepare yourself for the changes to come, I have put together a list of five of the most important tips Logicalis regularly discusses with its clients:

  1. Develop a Comprehensive, Widespread Enterprise Imaging Strategy: Imaging is a complex area of health IT, and it doesn’t start and stop in radiology.
  1. Create a Standards-Based Data Governance Model: Healthcare organizations need to design and implement data standards for images and associated metadata elements now to be ready to enable a relevant presentation of images within the EHR and take advantage of upcoming analytics and deep learning capabilities as they become more mainstream.
  1. Focus on Interoperability: It isn’t acceptable to expect clinicians to launch multiple applications in unique frames without patient context. Even though specialized image viewing toolsets may be needed, it is critical that the user experiences a unified viewing environment.
  1. Standardize Image Acquisition Workflows: The creation of standardized workflows will enable faster onboarding of service lines needing image management services, and it will ensure that data standards are applied and that images are presented appropriately within the EHR.
  1. Embrace Image Lifecycle Management: The use of hybrid cloud strategies, starting with Tier 4 image storage, is a great way to reduce the overall cost of retaining an image while accommodating the long-term retention requirements needed for research and for compliance with regulatory mandates.

Need help designing your organization’s digital health strategy? Schedule a HIMSS18 meeting with Logicalis Healthcare Solutions experts now and gain instant access to a series of valuable healthcare IT reports:

Want to learn more? If an enterprise imaging strategy isn’t already part of your EHR optimization plans, where will you be five years from now? Start your journey by watching this brief informative enterprise imaging video, then explore the essential components of an enterprise imaging strategy in a one-hour, virtual Enterprise Imaging Executive Workshop.

1 IMV: 2017 MR Market Outlook Report & IMV: 2017 CT Market Outlook Report