RSNA issues updated guidelines to help make imaging interoperability a reality

The Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) and its partners have issued new and updated guidelines to help the specialty in its push toward more open sharing of imaging studies.

Developed alongside Carequality, the guidelines detail specific technical standards that vendors can adopt to pave the way for open image exchange. As part of the rollout, Ambra Health, LifeIMAGE and Philips Healthcare have committed to adopting this framework, and empowering radiologists to share studies more freely in 2020, according to an RSNA announcement.

"We are truly entering the era of safe, secure and expeditious exchange of imaging information, making it easily accessible for the patient's benefit, when the patient most needs it," David Mendelson, MD, senior associate in clinical informatics and vice chair of radiology IT at Mount Sinai Health System, said in a statement. "We encourage other networks that support imaging to join and extend the availability of patient imaging exams."

RSNA first unveiled the guidelines during a town hall event earlier this month at the society’s annual meeting. Those involved note that currently, imaging studies are typically shared using CDs and DVDs, with patients frequently forced to endure inconvenience, delays in care or repeated unnecessary imaging due to this lack of interoperability.

The Carequality framework details governance and technical specifications that help to enable linkage between disparate health information exchange networks in the U.S., regardless of tech or geography. More than 600,000 doctors now share 80 million-plus documents using this framework each year,  which was developed and tested in collaboration with RSNA. This latest update also incorporates guidance from vendors.

In its own announcement, the nonprofit Carequality noted that a draft of the information exchange guidelines were first shared in June for comment. It’s further refined guidance to incorporate some of the dozens of public comments  received in 2019. Leaders are now seeking other imaging vendors to join early adopters in spreading this approach.

"We look forward to working with the three pioneering imaging vendors and salute their commitment to empowering their customers to exchange imaging studies electronically via the Carequality Interoperability Framework," Executive Director Dave Cassel said in a statement.