HIMSS, SIIM share guide to building an effective enterprise imaging strategy

The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) and Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine (SIIM) have collaborated on a new white paper focused on how to effectively build and implement an enterprise imaging (EI) system.

The full document, "10 Steps to Strategically Build and Implement your Enterprise Imaging System: HIMSS-SIIM Collaborative White Paper," was completed by the SIIM-HIMSS EI workgroup and published in the Journal of Digital Imaging.

“This white paper is designed to help care providers and informatics professionals champion EI at their local healthcare enterprise,” wrote Henry Primo, Primo Medical Imaging Informatics, and colleagues. “The content that follows will help these enterprise imaging advocates to build a presentation to convince C-suite executives (such as the chief executive officer, chief financial officer, chief medical officer, chief informatics officer, and chief medical informatics officer) and departmental directors or other leadership of the importance of enterprise imaging.” 

The white paper takes readers through 10 steps, with each one addressing a key aspect of implementing EI in today’s busy, changing healthcare landscape. The first step, for instance, emphasizes that EI strategies should involve giving users access to all “images and documentation” as opposed to just imaging results.

“Today, these images are often not available through the EHR and are seldom securely digitally archived,” the authors wrote. “This can be a challenge to patient care and patient experience, the caregiver’s quality of work, costs containment, and value-based care delivery.”

The team also noted that including all images also means providing access to prior imaging results, which can help keep repeat scans to a minimum. Also, they added, electronic health records should be designed so that any image can be viewed from the same viewer, with the same login.

The second step, meanwhile, is about demonstrating the quality of your EI strategy. By showing that your plan is able to improve the lives of healthcare providers, you can show hospital leadership that it isn’t just about the images—it’s about improving morale and decreasing the chance of burnout as well.

Cost savings is another key part of that discussion, the authors added.

“By consolidating imaging data into a single (or fewer) repositories substantial financial savings can be realized through consolidation of existing hardware and storage systems,” they wrote. “Centralized data management will reduce maintenance costs and reduce or eliminate the need for future data migrations.”

The sixth step, meanwhile, highlights how important it is in today’s healthcare environment to provide the best patient experience possible. The right EI strategy can go a long way toward making patients happier with their care, which “can result in better patient retention.”

“From the perspective of a patient, providing patient access to their own image record offers a progressive, yet increasingly expected approach in a rapidly evolving world of social media and online access driving consumer choices,” the authors explained.