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Why Use Image Management Systems? The Opportunity.

The Opportunity: Efficiency. Access. A Higher Level of Patient Care. These are the results presented when choosing to invest in an image management system.

With an image management system, doctors and surgeons can reliably capture and instantly access patient data, clinical exam data, and endoscopic video acquired before, during and after a procedure in an organized way. The ease of being able to compare patient images from multiple procedures is another result of choosing to use an image management system in the OR. 

These integrated endoscopic management software systems help cut costs and save time while increasing productivity. Furthermore, accessibility to patient information post-surgery gives physicians the ability to further evaluate and diagnose clinical data as well as put families at ease when discussing post-operative surgery information and successes.

Investing in an Image Management System

Imaging in the operating room can offer many added benefits to proper patient evaluation and diagnosis. Efficient patient care has increasingly become dependent on the rapid retrieval of this data. The use of image management systems has increasingly made it easier for doctors/surgeons to do a variety of things. Before investing in an image management system, it is important to research and know your operating room goals.

Improving Access to Images:

One of the greatest benefits of using an image management system is the retrieval of patients’ data in real-time. Once generated, images and video are available immediately for analysis. Image management systems are USB compatible. iPhones and other devices plugged into the USB port for saving patient data make it possible to view clinical findings remotely. Because of this, data is easily sent out for second opinions. In a matter of seconds, doctors can push and pull EMR (electronic medical records) from the OR to the office and vice versa. Extremely efficient. Extremely easy.

Easier to Compare Images:

The ability to compare images electronically from multiple patient visits is a significant advantage of using management systems. It is possible to review a patient’s last three procedural images on one screen, which makes clinical decisions more proficient.

This ability to view images from separate visits on one screen is an upgrade from printing out images, which also saves on costs for printer paper. The use of management systems also makes it possible to save diagnostic images from different patient visits in reverse chronological order. Because of this, doctors can look at the most recent image and compare it to the earlier ones.

Teaching and Presentations:

In addition to being able to access images easily, annotation and dictation are also possible for doctors conducting presentations for teaching purposes. Doctors can annotate specific images from patient procedures and dictate videos taken during surgical procedures with ease, elevating their presentation to a different level.

Customizable Safety Checks:

It is possible to input patient information into image management systems days before to the actual procedure, making surgery times quicker. Operating room staff can also input surgeon specifications based on surgery type and tailor the specifications to each surgeon entering the operating room. For example, a laparoscopic surgeon will have different specifications set in the image management system for a cholecystectomy based on his preferences. After that operating room is re-sterilized, the next surgery on the schedule is a total hip replacement. The orthopedic surgeon entering that same operating room will have different specifications pre-set in the same image management system used in the earlier cholecystectomy. This saves on time and make surgeries throughout the day more efficient. 

 

Analyzation of Images:

Some systems include software that makes it easier to assess pathologies. Processing methods can enhance an image and highlight certain features.

More Secure Patient Data:

Compared to paper records, electronic storage of patient data is a much more secure way of storing and handling data. All information recorded is time-stamped and documented correctly, making it a much more efficient process. In talking to doctors and surgeons, it is extremely frustrating when an OR staff member power downs a camera control unit before printing all the images. In the long run, it is very cost-efficient to invest in an image management system. Overtime, surgical printers can become costly because the printer paper is expensive.

Know Your Goals:

Before purchasing, doctors and surgeons should know their goals they wish to accomplish with using their image management system(s). Different facilities are going to have different needs. A multispecialty practice may have more robust needs than a smaller practice. Do you want the ability to access images remotely? Do you want a system that manages all digital equipment output? Do you want to compare and manipulate images? In the end, the image management system is the “heart” of the OR. It is very important, it offers added benefits and opportunity, and most importantly, it adds to a higher level of patient care.

 

Key Features of Image Management Systems Summarized:

  • Push and pull EMR’s from the OR to office and vice versa.
  • Control different operating room applications from management system.
  • View current and previous exam images side-by-side for comparison.
  • Cost-efficient and user specifications customizable—frontload patient information. Save on printer paper.
  • Capture and store high-definition (HD) images and video clips for optimal clinical assessment.
  • Label, annotate, dictate, and enhance images for teaching purposes.
  • Generate referral letters, pathology requests and discharge instructions.
  • View live image on computer monitor while being able to Stop/Start video.
  • Generate standard and customized images.
  • Distribute documents automatically via email and/or fax. Prevent loss of data/images after procedure.