Enterprise imaging: adding value and quality to medical imaging

Enterprise imaging (EI) seeks to optimize the quality and value of medical imaging for healthcare enterprises. Although definitions of the term still tend to vary, there is widespread agreement that it means more than simply implementing a new technology.

Components of enterprise imaging
For Barbara Mullarky, a radiology products marketing veteran, enterprise imaging has four basic components: visualization, workflow, collaboration and archiving.
Visualization allows images from a multitude of specialties to be displayed on a single viewer, along with intelligent tools for efficient reading and reporting. The workflow component provides configurable, patient-centric movement of images and other, associated data. Collaboration enables radiologists, cardiologists and other medical specialists to share images and data with providers in and outside a care network.
The key archiving approach consists of vendor neutral archives (VNAs), which consolidate images from multiple systems and specialties for rapid retrieval and display, along with intelligent image and content management. Individual diagnostic imaging applications plug in to the VNA, with an enterprise worklist application consolidating workflow into a single view and determining the best display application to be launched from the VNA for interpretation.

Heralding a new healthcare culture
Experts seem to broadly concur with the above framework. Some, however, also see enterprise imaging as being the symbol of a wholly new healthcare culture. For example, in comments to UBM Medica, Paul Chang, MD, from the University of Chicago School of Medicine, says that a robust enterprise imaging strategy means reinventing and aligning radiology to a new, patient-centric approach for healthcare delivery. Chang believes that EI has the potential