Cloud-based image sharing improves efficiency, reporting times

Radiologists may want to invest in cloud-based image sharing software for departmental workflow purposes. New research in the American College of Radiology showed high efficacy of cloud-based image sharing in a mammography department.

“Traditionally, prior images are obtained by faxing requests to other institutions and waiting for standard mail, which can greatly delay report turnaround times,” the authors, led by Matthew M. Morgan, of the University of Utah School of Medicine, wrote. “Recently, advancements in cloud-based image transfer technology have opened up more efficient options for examination transfer between institutions.”

Using 60 screening exams requiring prior images, the researchers placed them into control and experimental groups. The control group used the standard method of acquiring prior images including faxing requests and waiting for images to be post mailed. The experimental group used cloud-based transfer for requesting and receiving images.

Timing for both sets was evaluated and compared.

Using cloud-based image sharing, there was an average reduction rate of almost three days between examination request and receipt and reduced completion to final report turnaround times by nearly seven days.

Aside from increased efficiency in department workflow and reduced time required between request and receipt of images, faster turnaround times allay anxiety around receiving mammography results.

“As value to patients becomes an important concept in the national health care debate, radiology practices must also be examined for opportunities to eliminate waste and improve quality and patient satisfaction,” the authors wrote. “Reducing the exchange of physical media eliminates waste in time, materials, and delays—a ‘lean system’ goal for our institution. The cloud-based approach allowed us to reevaluate several steps in our old system that were unnecessary and were simply continued as tradition.”

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