A Large Suburban Medical Center Seeks Cost Savings from Simplified Infrastructure
Healthcare Imaging Capacity Needs are Exploding
It is important to ensure both clinical and IT departments benefit from an overall shift towards an enterprise strategy. Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, New York, a 600-bed, community-based teaching hospital and regional trauma center performing 200,000 annual exams, was careful to ensure this was the case. When planning their PACS infrastructure upgrade, Winthrop-University Hospital determined it would be a good time to leverage the enhanced vendor neutrality (of a VNA). The goal was consolidation of data from multiple clinical departments and preparation for future hospital network expansion that would accomodate increasing clinical data access demands. They implemented a cloud-based VNA and migrated existing online and offline diagnostic and interventional radiology, radiation oncology, vascular ultrasound and cardiac CTA studies. Cardiology and Orthopedic data are now being added and include DICOM and non-DICOM studies and scanned JPEG files.
The enterprise view adopted by Winthrop-University Hospital extended to providing clinicians with “universal” workstation access. The goal was to leverage the “neutrality” of the VNA storage infrastructure and single backend interface that was no longer limited by multiple unconnected systems. Separating clinical storage from clinical viewing is expected to simplify future technology deployments by the hospital and increase the technology options available for future consideration. The IT department also rolled out new enterprise access policies that simplify deployment of new services to their large and diverse clinical user base. Importing studies from a patient-supplied CD was also centralized, to ensure all studies become a part of the permanent record managed by the VNA. This eliminated the need for radiologists to manage patient-supplied CDs and had a positive impact on radiologist productivity.
“Consolidating pockets of disconnected storage helped the Winthrop-University Hospital balance institutional storage needs, simplify creation and management of a business continuity solution, and better support facility growth through redeployment of IT resources,” confirms Rick Perez, Administrative Director of Radiology at Winthrop-University Hospital.
Their cloud-based approach now provides the hospital with a redundant offsite copy of all information stored in the VNA, in addition to universal clinical access. IT has shifted focus to managing users instead of servers, improving clinical information access and physician satisfaction. Hardware deployment no longer limits information access, as login credentials and user class now define user capability and access. Winthrop-University Hospital leadership expects clinical quality improvements to shorten length of stay and support future Meaningful Use attestation. The strong relationship between the IT and clinical departments will enable future success with these efforts and ensure that new technologies support improved clinical quality and customer service.