As advances in technology hurtle forward, the amount of data being created continues to grow at an astounding rate. Thus, the term “big data” has been coined. In order to continue moving forward we need to be able to store this big data and make sense of it all.

I have previously touched on the fact that cloud storage would keep information transparent and readily available to any physician who needs it. However, the current healthcare delivery system is not fully interoperable and we fail to see the whole picture. Big data gives us the opportunity to piece it all together and use analytics to make more informed decisions regarding patients, and can even allow us to see patterns in healthcare on a larger scale.

The concept of big data is exciting to us health IT folks, and how can it not be? We foresee using analytics to gain predictive capabilities, which could forever change the quality of healthcare for the better. However we must realize that an exorbitant amount of data will require a heightened level of security.

 

Diagnostic quality images—on your smartphone

As we work to resolve any associated risks, one area we are focusing on that uses a large amount of data is medical imaging storage. It is estimated that medical images consume fully one-third of all the data storage on earth. As you can see, there is an imminent need for a universal method to securely access and view patient images and reports.

And, the value of taking a “mobile” approach to medical images is undeniable.

Can a cloud-based solution meet security requirements, enable remote viewing of diagnostic quality images, and bridge disparate silos of data? In order to be truly effective, the answers to these questions needs to be” yes.”

Let’s explore ways to address these challenges.

1. Security: Devices (including to mobile devices) need to be protected end-to-end. Taking a network-based approach helps provide high-security protections and centralized logging that you need to help protect patients and providers under the law.

2. Access to images: Selecting a solution where all the images close to where they are created and instead of sending copies around, minimizes bandwidth demand (lowering costs and promoting sharing).

3. Various Vendors and Software:  Vendor-neutral archives, where any format (open or proprietary) can be integrated and connected across several different systems. They are interoperable– images can be stored and accessed by anyone on the team without special proprietary software.

A security enhanced and effective cloud solution, has great benefits. Not only can it foster mobility for physicians and simplify access to images for hospitals and health networks, but it can also enable better patient outcomes. (One estimate indicates that an astonishing 20 percent of medical images are “re-takes” – the same imaging done on the same patient by order of a second doctor).

Want to learn more? Check out this video…

Are you ready to take your medical images to the cloud? What are your concerns or issues with that?  How do you believe we can best address security issues related to health IT while embracing its benefits?  We look forward to your comments on this important topic.