September 2009

CHI to Test Cross-Site Image Reading System


CHI is taking the first step toward giving radiologists the ability to easily access, read and report on images from any facility within the system. As part of CHI’s PACS (Picture Archiving and Communications System) program, six market-based organizations are preparing to test a cross-site image reading system.

McKesson is developing the cross-site technology in collaboration with CHI and Compressus, a medical imaging solutions provider. “This is the first system of this type that McKesson has developed, so it is ground-breaking for them and for us,” said Win Vaughan, vice president, medical imaging services. “McKesson representatives met with radiologists and technicians across CHI to determine their requirements for this system. It’s exciting to see it come to life.” The concept of enabling radiologists to read images collected at remote sites is complex. “There is a lot of complexity in creating a system that allows an imaging department to determine who can read images, when and how they can be read, and how reports come back,” said Vaughan. “Our field test will let us prove that the new technology works, even across different PACS technologies, and that the work flow is as seamless as possible for our radiologists.”

The market-based organizations in the pilot include Carrington Health Center, Carrington, ND; Lisbon Area Health Services, Lisbon, ND; Mercy Medical Center, Des Moines, IA; Mercy Medical Center, Williston, ND; St. Joseph’s Hospital and Health Center, Dickinson, ND.

“This will give the rural North Dakota hospitals access to specialist and sub-specialist radiologists in Des Moines, with quick turnaround,” said Vaughan. “For example, a child brought to a North Dakota emergency department can have images read by a pediatric neurologist in Des Moines. This will raise quality of care and allow patients to benefit from specialist care without traveling long distances.”

Planning for the field test is continuing in anticipation of deployment later in September. “We expect to have quantifiable results by the end of November,” said Vaughan. “Then, we’ll work with the Strategy and Business Development Group to look at future regional or systemwide deployment.”

For more information about the cross-site image reading project, contact Win Vaughan, winvaughan@catholichealth.net.