What Impact Does Digital Image Exchange Have on Patient Continuity and Care Coordination?

Patient care, especially for long-term or chronic condition, often involves a team of healthcare professionals, including primary care physicians, specialists, consultants, nursing staff, pharmacists, lab personnel, and others. Together, this team provides continuity of care for the patient. But to deliver high-quality care, the team must rely on secure, reliable, and HIPAA-compliant data and medical image sharing to ensure all caregivers understand the patient’s history and current needs.

What is patient continuity and coordination of care?

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, “Continuity of care is concerned with quality of care over time. It is the process by which the patient and [their] physician-led care team are cooperatively involved in ongoing health care management toward the shared goal of high quality, cost-effective medical care.”

Not only does continuity of care support greater visibility and transparency throughout a patient’s healthcare journey; it also supports early detection, more accurate diagnosis, and improved outcomes. Additionally, continuity of care has been linked to better patient-provider relationships, promoting greater trust and a feeling of safety.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) defines care coordination as “deliberately organizing patient care activities and sharing information among all of the participants concerned with a patient’s care to achieve safer and more effective care.” Coordination of care involves a team of healthcare workers who provide patient care in coordination with others. Good communication among physicians, nursing staff, lab workers, pharmacy staff, and the patient is vital for providing safe and effective care.

What’s the value of medical image sharing for patient continuity and coordination of care?

Continuity and coordination of care requires collaboration among all providers and related staff involved in a patient’s continuum of care. That collaboration means sharing electronic health records (EHR) and medical images, as doing so allows doctors to understand what treatment strategies have already been used and how the patient has responded. Also, when doctors refer patients to a specialist, or an insurer requires a different doctor, sharing medical information and images is essential. Unfortunately, images and reports are all-too-often separated in the transfer process. In fact, 80% of the time EMR data is transferred, it lacks supporting imagery, and when images are transferred, 80% of the time they are not accompanied by the report.

Traditional file sharing over email, database downloads, or CDs is simple and straightforward. Even graphic or image files such as JPEGs can be shared using traditional file transfers. Sharing medical images, conversely, is not that simple. Transmission and management of medical images must adhere to the standards and protocols of Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM). The internationally recognized DICOM format specifies that images conform to high standards, which allow for accurate interpretation and diagnostics. As a result, radiology departments must use special software to view these images. Unfortunately, sharing these images also presents challenges pertaining to privacy, security, and image integrity. The large sizes of these files also means there are limited methods for storing and sharing.

How does TeleRay’s image-sharing platform support patient continuity of care?

DICOM images have become an essential tool not only for diagnosis and treatment by a healthcare provider, but also for continuity and coordination of care among providers. Of course, all of this requires the ability to store, view, and share medical images. For example, TeleRay’s platform enables providers to attach images to Epic’s patient portal, MyChart. Providers also can add reports into a patient’s electronic medical record, providing more comprehensive patient information. Ensuring DICOM images can be viewed and shared securely and privately — and the process complies with HIPAA regulations — has its own challenges.

DICOM has mechanisms to establish confidentiality for an image’s header data, but not for the pixel data. And although DICOM does provide authenticity and integrity for the pixel data, it doesn’t offer the same guarantee for the header data. Additionally, security and sharing mechanisms must be compatible with a healthcare provider’s IT infrastructure. That’s why providers and radiology departments are turning to the TeleRay platform for simple, secure, and compliant image exchange that supports patient continuity and coordination of care — every time.

If your organization needs a comprehensive solution to ensure safe, secure, and HIPAA-compliant storing and sharing of medical information and images, TeleRay can help. Contact us at 844-4-TELERAY (483-5372) or visit TeleRay.com.

TeleRay RMC Advances Remote Control Modalities

Healthcare is entering a period of seismic change. Worker shortages, an aging population, and a post-pandemic era of healthcare concerns are all shaping what healthcare will become over the next several years. But for every struggle, there’s an innovation waiting to address the challenge, powered by companies committed to staying on the leading edge.

Telehealth, remote patient monitoring, and distance healthcare have all emerged in the wake of the pandemic to allow more patients access to the care they need, regardless of location. Now, TeleRay is excited to announce its contribution to this growing landscape of innovative practices, devices, and modalities. TeleRay RMC is a remote-control solution for enabling diagnostic imaging from anywhere, at any time, for any need.

Take control of equipment (and workflows)

The TeleRay Remote Modality Controller (RMC) is the latest innovation in distance healthcare. Using the USB and standard video ports of CT, MRI, ultrasound, or any other imaging modality, the TeleRay RMC enables complete keyboard and mouse control from remote locations with screen visualization.

Not only can doctors, X-ray technicians, and other healthcare professionals take diagnostic images from anywhere, but TeleRay’s RMC also boasts many other use cases — especially when it comes to system maintenance.

TeleRay’s RMC enables remote troubleshooting, updating, training, general checkups, and more. With it, there’s no need for medical staff to wait hours (or days) for a repair technician to arrive on-site — or spend upwards of $3,000 per visit. And given the requirement for multiple visits in many troubleshooting and repair situations, that cost can certainly compound quickly.

Resolving complex cases through defined protocols

It’s becoming more challenging to find advanced technologists with an expert-level grasp of a wide range of appropriate remote radiology protocols. Their knowledge of operationally complex technology is essential for a variety of healthcare facilities, but finding the right talent and keeping them on-site full time can be both difficult and expensive.

TeleRay’s RMC is poised to help healthcare teams handle complex use cases along with more routine protocols still requiring the advanced know-how possessed only by an experienced technologist.

For example, a cardiovascular MRI is a powerful tool, but only when used by a knowledgeable operator. It relies on operationally complex technology, and the technologist needs a thorough understanding of not just the equipment itself, but also the relevant anatomy of cardiac and vascular pathophysiology.

TeleRay enables remote control of image modalities, allowing technologists to deliver exceptional patient care from any location. In this way, TeleRay is closing the skills gap in this sector of the healthcare industry, with the ultimate goal of improving overall patient care.

Simple, versatile, and effective for remote operation

The TeleRay RMC system is an all-in-one, mobile, and easy-to-use solution for a multitude of issues currently facing the medical imaging sector. Not only does this innovative technology enable remote training and service — saving healthcare teams time and money — there are also many other valuable use cases for TeleRay’s RMC system, including:

  • Patient data accessibility. TeleRay’s fully digital solution provides more accessibility to patient data, for healthcare providers and patients alike. Access to patient data is almost instant before and after scans. It’s also quick and easy to share electronic health records (EHR) information across all touchpoints of a patient’s care.
  • A better patient experience. Digital radiology technology creates an overall better patient experience for a variety of reasons. Not only does it lower costs for healthcare teams — which can be passed on to the patient — it also improves treatment outcomes with the support of artificial intelligence and analytics that are integral to digital diagnostic technology.
  • Patient confidentiality. Digitization enables EHR, a much safer alternative to paper-based systems. TeleRay makes it easier and safer for healthcare providers to send and retrieve patient information, including digital images. With highly advanced encryption and security capabilities, electronic records will be protected.

The next evolution of telehealth services

As the healthcare industry turns to remote patient monitoring and other remote-enabling administration tools, solutions like TeleRay RMC will lead the way in promoting access, affordability, and a higher standard of patient care. From cardiology to oncology and everything in between, imaging is a cornerstone of care. TeleRay is committed to bringing quality care to patients where they are, eliminating barriers wherever they exist.

Learn more about other groundbreaking developments in remote healthcare at teleray.com.