We recently had the chance to sit down with one of our longtime customers to talk about the issues they were having prior to engaging with Mach7 and how they were able to solve them. For a little background, this customer was in full acquisitions mode at the time they engaged with Mach7, bringing a number of different facilities into their health network. Each new facility that was acquired represented a monumental project from an IT infrastructure perspective. Additionally, within each hospital there were disparate PACS systems and archives that weren’t able to exchange data, creating inefficiencies for care providers and management headaches for administrators. Consolidating all the data and dealing with complex new inter- and intra-hospital workflows would require a robust and forward-thinking technology solution and the strategy to make the most use of the new technology. Here are three of the problems they were facing and how Mach7 solved them:
Challenge 1: Multiple Migrations due to Mergers and Acquisitions
Mergers and acquisitions have created a growing problem for this customer and many other health systems across the country: within any given health system, there are disparate PACS from many different vendors. Unfortunately, consolidating multiple and dissimilar archives into just one or two can take years to complete and be prohibitively expensive for many budget-conscious hospitals. When our customer started the plan to consolidate over half a dozen archives from acquired facilities, they realized just how high the costs would be. Their initial intent was to use a third-party company specializing in data migrations, however they ultimately found it more cost-effective to have Mach7 Professional Services build an extractor they could use to unpack the native files.
This customer has been able to perform several migrations using the Mach7 solution. Their largest traditional migration using Mach7’s tools was 300,000 studies and was able to be completed by their trained staff members, requiring only minimal assistance from Mach7. They have also used the Mach7 solution to perform several segment-to-segment migrations and the Mach7 database to validate studies from another migration, removing the need to purchase migration services from a vendor or third party. With the migration and validation capabilities of the Mach7 solution, this customer has potentially saved tens of thousands of dollars over traditional methods of migrating image data.
Challenge 2: Unique Workflows due to Multi-PACS Environment
As our customer acquires new facilities, there is a need to implement unique workflows to ensure reading is not disrupted due to the multi-PACS environment. Their health system has multiple PACS systems between different ‘ologies’ and sometimes even within the same ‘ology.’ They had three or four different PACS systems in Radiology, and over time are working to consolidate all those systems into one PACS. Platform flexibility can be a huge game changer in today’s healthcare IT environment, especially for a health system that has a wide array of disparate archives from different vendors. The process was going to take time to consolidate data from all their archives, but there wasn’t any reason the data couldn’t be exchanged between systems in the meantime.
This is where Mach7 came in; this customer had a need to send studies to be read overnight from one of their facilities to another facility in a neighboring county. These sites both had siloed PACS from different vendors that weren’t able to exchange information. The Mach7 Platform provided the tools to implement workflows that enabled these archives to meaningfully exchange data with each other, making the radiologists’ workflow more efficient and streamlined while the archive consolidation occurred. This way, providers and patients could begin to see the benefits of collaboration and consolidation without needing to wait years to implement a common PACS.
Challenge 3: Encounter-Based Imaging
Encounter-based imaging has been increasing in prevalence over the past few years as hospitals push to provide personalized and greater quality patient care. Current technology and policies don’t always support this, due in large part to the necessity of ordering procedures through the EHR for billing purposes. Like many other organizations, our customer was having this problem in their OB/GYN department. Care providers were not placing orders, and as a result, the OB/GYN department had to function without a modality worklist. This led to the creation of demographic errors that required review and manual correction.
The Mach7 Platform was able to use an ADT feed to provide the modality worklist, enabling encounter-based imaging for the department. In addition, studies in the OB/GYN PACS are now normalized with demographic information within their EHR, enabling better record keeping with acquired studies. In the future, they intend to expand their encounter-based imaging workflow to include ophthalmology and pathology so those departments can reap the benefits the Mach7 Platform provides.