Medical Imaging Drives Health Data Storage Demand

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pacsUSA, September 9, 2013 - With Stage 2 Meaningful Use 2014 certification requirements for electronic health records (EHR), hospitals and other providers are hard-pressed to increase medical imaging and information data storage to meet their expanding needs.

One of the Stage 2 objectives includes providing patients the ability to view online, download and transmit their health information within four business days of the information being available to the eligible provider (for the eligible professional) and within 36 hours for the eligible hospital.

This leads to a huge amount of patient medical imaging and medical history data that needs to be stored.

Coupled with the upsurge of 3D medical imaging technology usage, the demand for data storage is a top priority.

An Industry-wide Shift

Global Industry Analysts, Inc. projected the 3D medical imaging market to reach 5.9 billion dollars by 2017.

3D medical imaging procedures have increased as 3D ultrasound technology, 3D X-rays and 3D mammograms are becoming more commonplace.

According to Greg Hart, vice president of technology at McKesson, these 3D medical imaging technologies can boost the size of the typical image used today by radiologists and surgeons by a factor of 10, with one 60-second scan generating 10 terabytes (TB) of information.

“What that means for storage is a whole shift in how you approach your systems,” he observed.

Hospital Builds Large Data Center

Responding to this shift, some healthcare organizations are constructing new buildings just for medical imaging and patient information data storage.

Roper St. Francis Healthcare in North Charleston, South Carolina, broke ground a year ago on an $18 million data center to be completed later in 2013.

The data center will be part of a 67-mile fiber optic ring of data that provides high-bandwidth digital services to the organization’s more than 100 affiliates.

David Dunlap, chief executive officer of Roper St. Francis, said the building was needed even without a federal mandate to make medical imaging records digital and provide “meaningful use” for that kind of information.

He said the federal mandate accelerated the process of building the data center.

Full Use of an EHR System Driving Data

Offering patients an electronic copy of their health information and medical imaging records allows them and their healthcare providers to be more engaged in their care.

Furthermore, when patients move or transfer providers they have the ability to bring their health information and medical imaging records with them, facilitating care coordination and management.

Medical imaging solutions such as PACS (picture archiving and communication system), RIS (radiology information), and CVIS (cardiovascular imaging systems) are designed to help healthcare organizations of all sizes and complexity manage the massive amount of medical imaging data.

When PACS/RIS and enterprise-wide EHR systems are implemented, healthcare organizations will unlock the value of their data analytics to improve efficiencies and patient outcomes.

“It’s not good enough to just have [an EHR system], you have to be using it to a certain level,” Hart said, pointing to requirements such as entering 80 percent of all physician orders electronically.

“All of this is driving data,” he added.

How have meaningful use requirements impacted your organization’s need for data storage due to the increased file sizes of medical imaging as well as a patient’s comprehensive health records?

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