Cloud Network of Image Sharing Expected to Improve Hospital Efficiency
According to a recent article from Milwaukee Business News, Merge Healthcare has released its Merge Honeycomb Archive solution of cloud-based photo sharing for healthcare providers. The archive will allow hospital departments to upload and access medical images of patients in one cloud location for storing and sharing.
The goal of Merge Honeycomb Archive is to help providers and patients decrease the costs of healthcare and increase hospital efficiency, reported Merge Healthcare. George Fiffick, vice president of interoperability solutions at Merge Healthcare, told Milwaukee Business News that duplicating medical tests and imaging costs the U.S. between $10 and $30 billion a year. With the use of a shared image network, patients and doctors can share test results and images with the provider responsible for treatment without redoing the same tests. Fiffick believes this will reduce, and possibly eliminate, the use of expensive duplicate imaging.
A cloud-based solution has created some security concerns for healthcare professionals, but Merge Healthcare attests that Merge Honeycomb Archive is designed with strict precautions and that all uploaded files are encrypted. Currently, patients do not have access to the archive, but Fiffick states that once they do there will be potential to further enhance doctor-patient interactions and expand the possibilities of electronic health record systems.
According to Fiffick, Merge Honeycomb Archive will grant providers the ability “to upload, store, and share medical images in a cloud environment…[it will] provide a long-term storage option that houses images securely, in multiple locations, providing anywhere, anytime access in a secure environment." The archive is reportedly designed not only to improve continuity and efficiency, but to also eliminate duplicate exams, reduce costs, and decrease patient exposure to repeated radiation.
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