-- Australian radiologists eagerly await next generation imaging informatics tools
SYDNEY, Sept. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The medical imaging and informatics industry is a victim of its own success. While technological advancements have helped the industry leapfrog several generations in the past few decades, they have also created a burgeoning demand for improvements in structural design and workflow. GE sponsored Frost & Sullivan whitepaper, "Challenges Faced by Australian Radiologists While Working with Conventional Imaging Workflow Solutions" finds that seamless workflow integration; improved interoperability; advanced analytics and service mobility are the most desired imaging system features amongst Australian radiologists.
An aging population, increasing incidence of chronic diseases and growing awareness about health and wellness amongst consumers has led to a 5.1% compound annual growth in imaging exams between 2006 and 2012 in Australia. Not only the volume but the complexity of radiological exams has increased as well owing to the use of sophisticated devices that capture large quantities of data. Moreover, radiological exams are becoming an integral part of emergency procedures with the Emergency Department ordering far more investigations than before. Under these circumstances, the Australian radiologist finds himself dealing with extremely dynamic challenges that add significantly to his work pressures and also impact his relations with referring physicians and patients.
In an effort to continuously evolve with the rapid transformation of medical imaging, GE is working in real-time and more directly with end-users to identify their unmet needs. GE sponsored Frost & Sullivan whitepaper finds that on an average, an Australian radiologist loses 25% of his time on non-value adding processes, such as moving across workstations; logging in and out of applications; collating data and images from different sources and formats; acquiring relevant patient information from various clinical and non-clinical information systems and sometimes even addressing IT bugs. While on the one hand this loss of practice time leads to frustration amongst radiologists at the workplace; on the other hand it directly impacts the healthcare organization's profitability which is linked to the radiology department's performance. "Lack of sufficient information and an incomplete picture of the patient are key reasons for diagnostic errors and medical oversight", adds Rhenu Bhuller, Senior Vice President for Healthcare, Asia-Pacific at Frost & Sullivan.
Integration and interoperability are major determinants for success of an imaging information system. Integration of medical imaging with clinical information systems, hospital information systems and electronic health records is crucial if we want to ensure timely access to complete information. In addition to systems integration, radiologists expect significant improvement in core image viewing and analysis functions as well. They would like a unified view of all the patient's exams as well as his medical history. Further desirable enhancements include voice recognition and recording; touch screen functionality; advanced analytics; automated hanging protocols; case-based learning and cloud-based informatics solutions, to name a few. A diagnostic-grade multi-modality image viewer, which is "de-coupled" from a particular workstation or PACS archive, helps meet the need for data access and mobility.
Market leaders, including GE, are already listening to their clients and incorporating some the above discussed enhancements into their upcoming solutions. Industry focus has now shifted from investing in heavy duty technology to ensuring maximum return on investment by upgrading or revamping existing systems. There is growing acknowledgement that technological sophistication is not sufficient to transform the fragmented Australian healthcare system; medical device manufacturers must re-engineer and optimize workflow processes to ensure high quality imaging, improved information exchange and seamless collaboration.
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Challenges Faced by Australian Radiologists While Working with Conventional Imaging Workflow Solutions
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