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Perceptions Blog

The Path Forward for Enterprise Imaging

Updates from a HIMSS/SIIM Enterprise Imaging Workgroup meet-up.

During HIMSS 17, a meet-up of the HIMSS/SIIM Enterprise Imaging Workgroup was held with brief updates from a number of the working groups. These groups are focused on important areas to advance unlocking imaging to our healthcare enterprises, including:

  • Articulating the value proposition of Enterprise Imaging to stakeholders across the organization;
  • interoperability and the ONC, and
  • developing a Maturity Model for Enterprise Imaging

Let's discuss this last one for a bit. Implementing a comprehensive Enterprise Imaging strategy across an organization can appear a daunting task given the broad distribution of images across healthcare organizations. We heard recently from a provider that conducted an assessment to locate all their medical images (including photos and video) and they discovered them in 80 separate areas of the organization on all types of media.  Again, feels daunting, doesn’t it?

While harder to recall it now, perhaps, but the same was true when we first encountered the HIMSS Stage 7 EMR Adoption Model.  Initially, it was only the larger institutions and academic medical centers that seemed to achieve Stage 7 certification. Today, over a short period of time.  Healthcare organizations of varying sizes and differing EMR vendors are achieving this certification. In fact, a vast majority of organizations have achieved Stage 5 certification or higher. What’s the secret?  And, what can we learn from it?

First, the HIMSS stages began with the lowest common denominator as a baseline. The work was done to articulate practical progressions that also aligned with increasing clinical value.  And finally, the stages were adaptive enough to consider technology advances.  For example, data analytics in Stage 7 is sufficiently broad enough to consider things like population health, analytics in support of genomics and the like.

The working group on Enterprise Imaging’s Maturity Model appears to follow a similar mindset. It must articulate a common baseline with a progression that allows each organization to plan their roadmap in practical stages that tie achievable benefits to economic benefits, improved patient outcomes and quality. Furthermore, it must be adaptive to the ever-increasing innovation occurring in medical imaging, such as digital pathology, genomics, patient-generated images, machine learning and augmented intelligence. 

Together, and with a framework like the Maturity Model, healthcare will quickly advance through the stages for creating a comprehensive, patient-centered Enterprise Imaging foundation.

It is important work and I encourage everyone invested in medical imaging to get involved and monitor its progress.