Not just radiology: Survey shows image sharing is a hot topic across the enterprise

Medical image sharing continues to play a crucial role in a wide variety of departments, according to a recent report published by peer60.

The research company collected data from 547 healthcare providers, asking them about medical image sharing, its importance, and which technologies and brands they prefer.

When asked to list which departments had the greatest need for image sharing, 96% of all providers listed radiology, which is to be expected. Diving deeper into the data, however, shows that 78% of providers listed orthopedics, 75% listed trauma and at least 53% listed cardiology, neurosurgery, and neurology. In addition, 35% of providers chose every department that was listed.

“The ability to share images across an organization or to other organizations is critical to create safe, quick, and cost effective healthcare,” the report said. “Patient images are a crucial piece of information that is often missing when patients are transferred mid-event, or treated at several different locations.”

While a majority of providers responded that they believe sharing medical images is critical, peer60 pointed out that many of the methods companies use for that sharing are “ineffective.”

“CDs can be lost, creating a security problem for sensitive patient information,” the report said. “When shared with other facilities, CDs must be processed, which takes time, and sometimes these CDs are not compatible with differing PACS. Some facilities use a VPN connection, but setting that up with multiple non-affiliated organizations poses a security risk. In addition, images continue to increase in size as technology improves, creating a need for more robust storage.”

The report also looked at which technology providers view as an ideal solution for image sharing. PACS technology and cloud networks are both considered ideal by 68% of providers, and 31% said a vendor neutral archive (VNA) vendor was ideal.

Those results are “surprising,” according to the report, because Nuance owns both the market share and the mind share when it comes to medical image sharing, but doesn’t currently offer a PACS or VNA option to its customers.

“Perhaps PACS vendors have not yet stepped up their image-sharing technology to the level providers expect,” the report said.