Cloud-based medical image sharing system
Northwest ImageShare is based on a cloud-based regional PACS run in collaboration by Harrison Medical Center, Advanced Medical Imaging, The Doctors Clinic and Olympic Radiology. The objective of Northwest ImageShare is to enable better physician access to images across their region to enable more immediate and better care for patients.
The first key to creating the image share was standardizing all the facilities on the same Sectra web-based PACS and image sharing algorithms. Harrison’s staff took care of getting the facilities and physicians connected as well as maintaining system support 24/7. The PACS allows centralization of administration, maintenance and storage of images while maintaining security integrity. The partner organizations established guidelines to securely separate their patient information per HIPAA requirements and individual facility guidelines and protect their referral bases. “For example, each facility’s network is attached to the Northwest ImageShare, but they are not allowed to penetrate beyond their service or services that they need,” explains Ben Holmes, PACS system engineer at Harrison. “So at no time could one entity come in through Northwest ImageShare and into another entity or back out. We protect that.”
Sectra’s cross-platform worklist securely partitions each organization’s information in the shared archive which complies with HIPAA guidelines. The centralized archive greatly reduces the IT cost infrastructure for the providers and improves the continuum of care in the region. The redundant and secure data center resides at the local 911 call center. “It’s all virtualized,” Holmes explains. “Our SAN system is fully protected there and we have our own network setup and firewalls in place along with our tape archives for a completely maintained system.”
Northwest ImageShare is looking over the next few months and years to spread their wings in terms of capabilities and providers. They hope to soon add radiation dose monitoring, templating specific to specialty, such as orthopedics, and EMR integration—and someday expand into pathology, cardiology and radiation oncology.
Excerpted from an article by Mary C. Tierney, Health Imaging magazine.