This is helping improve hospital productivity and avoid unnecessary patient transfers and repeat examinations. Clinicians can now obtain and offer second opinions out of reporting hours, during weekends and night shifts, via the network, which has been jointly developed by GE Healthcare and Pansoma GmbH, and based on GE’s Centricity Solutions for Enterprise Imaging.
The Austrian network was described to radiology experts from around the world at the European Congress of Radiology, held in Vienna.
The network connects existing radiology information and picture archiving and communication systems (PACS), without the need to replace them. Data can be streamed, rather than transferred from one system to another, giving clinicians instant access to patients’ medical history.
“We are now able to review clinical images of patients taken at our trauma centre from any location as soon as they are acquired and then decide whether patients need to be transferred to a different centre or not,” said Alexander Bernegger, PACS Project Manager at NÖ Landeskliniken-Holding.
Making the data instantly available allows surgical teams to plan operations earlier and treat patients sooner. Previously, patient information and data were transferred via a protected healthcare data network, which could take up to two hours, according to NÖ Landeskliniken-Holding.
The pressure on European healthcare systems is ever-increasing as the population ages and budgets tighten. “In addition to that, there is an increasing need for specialisation, as a consequence of the growing complexity of technology and methods such as functional imaging. But it is simply not possible to have this level of specialisation available at each location,” said Bernegger.
As hospitals are challenged to work with shrinking resources, new concepts in diagnostic imaging, and especially in trauma care, are required, Bernegger said. “An integrated system which allows us to dynamically balance the workload across both public and private institutes will be key to overcome these challenges and enable us to offer the best possible care to patients.”