Customer Case:

Southern Ohio Medical Center, Portsmouth, Ohio, USA

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Interview with DR. SCOTT LOGAN, Chief Radiologist and Director of Medical Imaging and
NOEL PEMBERTON, Administrative Director of Medical Imaging, Southern Ohio Medical Center

‘Unbridled access to images’ and enhanced productivity for SOMC”

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High imaging-volume US hospital takes on the future, with new Enterprise Imaging for Radiology platform

With its high volume of medical imaging, productivity is constantly a focus for Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC).

The hospital carries out some 150,000 imaging exams each year, and offers 24/7 radiology services. In this environment, image management via the RIS/PACS is key, says Dr. Scott Logan, Chief Radiologist and Senior Medical Director of SOMC Medical Imaging.

SOMC is a 222-bed, not-for-profit hospital in Portsmouth, Ohio, USA, with a medical staff of more than 140 physicians and specialists, 2,200 employees, and more than 800 volunteers. It provides emergency and surgical care, as well as a wide range of other healthcare services, to rural Ohio. The hospital consists of 13 different campuses and centers, including sites dedicated to cancer, family practice, hospice care and more.

To provide its 24/7 radiology services, SOMC has eight radiologists and works with a ‘nighthawk’ service that provides preliminary interpretations at night. “24/7 radiology is pretty standard in the US,” explains Dr. Logan. “There is no downtime in patient management, and images need to be evaluated immediately. Hospitals have to be set up to support this.”

“Enterprise Imaging for Radiology provides unbridled access for the end user.”

“There are different workstations tailored to various users, but they are all based on a single platform. And the experience for the user is more refined.”

When Agfa HealthCare approached the hospital about piloting its work-in-progress Enterprise Imaging for Radiology, SOMC was definitely interested. “With Enterprise Imaging for Radiology, Agfa HealthCare is moving in a new direction, away from standard PACS and towards a new platform” comments Dr. Logan.

We are committed to being at the forefront of imaging technology and its evolution, so we agreed to pilot the solution in the US, and participate in getting it ready to be launched in the market.” This decision has already brought the hospital a host of benefits, including simplified and more refined processes, increased productivity and throughput, and an enhanced user experience.

SOMC has a long-term relationship with Agfa HealthCare, and has piloted other solutions in the past. The hospital was already using IMPAX RIS and IMPAX ES PACS, and was very pleased with the benefits they offer.

We were able to really leverage our existing Agfa HealthCare solutions,” comments Noel Pemberton, Administrative Director of SOMC Medical Imaging.

Our turnaround was already great, so there was a high bar for the new solution to reach.” “But we could see the new approach was truly revolutionary,” Dr. Logan continues.

With Enterprise Imaging for Radiology, RIS and PACS are merged into a single platform, for total, holistic image management. This creates opportunities for radically improved productivity, efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Evolutions in imaging management are being driven both by technological advances and by the changing organizational needs.

Enterprise Imaging for Radiology answers the need for a scalable solution that consolidates all images and data into a single storage area, with information from disparate third-party systems.

“The more a radiologist uses Enterprise Imaging for Radiology, the greater the increase in productivity.”

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Productivity, efficiency and cost-effectiveness

The pilot began in 2011, with Enterprise Imaging for Radiology running parallel with IMPAX RIS and PACS.

The collaboration and two-way communication with Agfa HealthCare have been very important, and we have worked closely with them to provide feedback on various aspects of the solution,” says Noel Pemberton.

It has been a unique experience.” “In terms of productivity figures, it varies by radiologist,” comments Dr. Logan. “But the more a radiologist uses Enterprise Imaging for Radiology, the greater the increase in productivity.

With Enterprise Imaging for Radiology, we can also get our report turnaround time down to 20-30 minutes,” Noel Pemberton adds, “which is from the time the radiologist receives the exam to when the final report is available to the clinician. This speed is a real benefit for the clinician and the patient.”

Feeling the benefits throughout the healthcare continuum

“With Enterprise Imaging for Radiology, RIS and PACS are merged into a single platform, for total, holistic image management. This creates opportunities for improved productivity, efficiency and cost-effectiveness.”

The impact of Enterprise Imaging for Radiology is felt far beyond radiology. “This solution is not just about radiology productivity. Instant, seamless access to reports and images helps everyone, from the clinician to the patient. It’s key for all specialties,” insists Noel Pemberton.

Dr. Logan agrees: “Timely, accurate and easy-to-read reports are key to decision-making, while faster reports and images also improve referring physician satisfaction.” While all of the Enterprise Imaging for Radiology features and advances have had a net positive impact, the improved voice recognition has been a huge advantage for SOMC. “It allows free-speaking, with excellent accuracy, more confident reports, less editing and less chance of errors,” says Dr. Logan. SOMC provided valuable feedback on this feature, leading to the ability to edit the report during dictation and speed up the reporting process even more.

Sectional reporting also enhances the value of the reports, says Dr. Logan. “By standardizing how the information is presented, it saves time for the radiologist creating the report, while offering enough customizability to be flexible. It also saves time for the clinician or referring physician, because it is easier to find the salient points and is more predictable to read. This decreases the number of questions and the need for addenda, and increases the confidence clinicians and referring physicians have in our reports and their satisfaction with the SOMC ‘product’.”

Intuitive and user-friendly

While implementing Enterprise Imaging for Radiology requires a change in approach by the hospital and staff, Dr. Logan and Noel Pemberton are fully convinced that the new platform provides ample benefits.

Dr. Logan: “Enterprise Imaging for Radiology is a real enterprise solution. While it takes time for some people to feel completely comfortable when switching to the new approach, we find that it is instantaneously adopted by new physicians, even if they have never used IMPAX. This demonstrates the intuitiveness of the interface and the user-friendly navigation.

And outside of radiology, the users didn’t even see a change in how they have to work, only in the report structure. Enterprise Imaging for Radiology is the future of image and data management, and we are 100% behind it.”

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