Healthcare // Electronic Health Records
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11/24/2010
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NextGen, ScImage Intro Universal Medical Image Integration Module

Scans produced by multiple picture archiving and communication systems can be accessed, viewed directly within NextGen's Ambulatory Electronic Health Record system.

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ScImage, a company that develops medical imaging and informatics, has inked a deal with NextGen Healthcare Information Systems to release a jointly developed universal medical image integration module. The product will provide users of NextGen's electronic medical record (EHR) technology with simultaneous access to clinical and research medical images.

Announced Monday, both companies said the NextGen Medical Image Integration Module, which is powered by ScImage technology, will allow images produced by any imaging modality or commercial picture archiving and communication system (PACS) to be accessed through a common viewer inside the NextGen Ambulatory EHR. With no downloads required, users will have access to a broad array of content, including medical images, documents, and reports generated by multiple disparate PACS systems.

According to Debra Dore, director of cardiovascular products for NextGen Healthcare, the new module will make it easier for healthcare providers to access medical images and create greater efficiency as they diagnose patients.

"The development of this module provides important integration for physicians to perform a 'patient-centric' review of medical images across all specialties. This is particularly important when images are located in multiple physical locations," Dore told InformationWeek.

Among its features, the module includes built-in modality work-list services, eliminating extraneous costs and complexity for end users, said NextGen. The technology provides physicians the ability to capture and transfer discrete procedural data from select modalities directly into NextGen Healthcare's clinical database. These data points can be pre-populated into NextGen Healthcare's clinical reports or examined for outcome investigations. The application can also replace or enhance currently installed PACS technology without the need for costly upgrades or data and image migration, while maintaining workflow for each clinical area.

"As an enterprise PACS provider, we are able to extend our workflow management approach beyond traditional radiology, cardiology, and other specialties to provide all clinical imaging departments with the same features and advantages," Sai Raya, CEO of ScImage, said in a statement. "Having this functionality available in NextGen's product suite provides our mutual clients with a measurable clinical and financial advantage that allows them to stay competitive in their respective markets."

The NextGen Medical Image Integration Module can provide image viewing for all clinical specialties within the NextGen Healthcare client base of more than 55,000 users. It also responds to a major challenge for physicians, who find that many PACS vendors only provide a proprietary viewer with their own systems.

"From a technical perspective, this solution allows our organizations to keep current PACS systems in disparate locations, yet centralizes their ability to review, as well as read, diagnostic studies," NextGen's Dore said. "This can eliminate the need for a physician to travel to the originating location just to review studies, adding significant efficiency to their workday. In addition, the integration of discrete data from the modality provides error-free migration into the EHR."

According to both companies, the solution creates notable value for physicians in the health system environment, where a single patient may see his primary care physician and specialist at separate locations, and then have additional procedures completed in a hospital. In the past, the use of different viewing applications required end-users to be trained on each individual system and to download multiple image viewers. This new application eliminates those downloads and provides access for users on most major operating systems and mobile devices, said the companies.

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