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Maryland HIE Seeks to Add Image Exchange Service

July 29, 2014
by David Raths
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Pilot project would seek to prove the business case for image exchange services

The statewide health information exchange in Maryland is seeking to enhance the value of its query portal by adding an image exchange service. In July the Chesapeake Regional Information System for our Patients (CRISP) issued a request for proposal to software vendors.

CRISP receives data from all 47 Maryland hospitals, most of the District of Columbia’s hospitals, and more than a dozen other participating long-term care facilities, reference laboratories, and radiology centers. Information such as lab results, radiology reports, medication history, and transcribed documents may be available through the query portal. However, most of the use involves basic querying and viewing of textual documents.

CRISP also provides an automated alert system for providers to receive notification when their patients visit the emergency room, are admitted to, or are discharged from the hospital. A separate reporting system aggregates hospital ADT notifications with geo-mapping to generate inter-hospital readmission reports for public health purposes.

More than 50 hospitals and radiology facilities are contributing their text-based radiology reports via an HL7 v2.x ORU feed to the CRISP query portal. In an average month, CRISP receives over 10 million total clinical messages of which 500,000 are finalized or corrected copies text-based radiology reports, according to the RFP.

The aim of the pilot project involving a small group of hospitals would be to prove the business case for image exchange services with the goal of expanding to all the providers. “CRISP envisions that when a user drills down into a specific textual radiology report within a patient record inside the CRISP query portal, that the user will somehow be notified that the radiology image is available to view. From this screen, a web-based viewer could be launched from inside that radiology report to allow the user to view the associated image,” the RFP says. “Once the image-review was complete, the user would return to the patient summary or result screen within the existing web interface.”

A second major objective is to provide the functionality for a facility to ingest a copy of a patient’s radiology images into a hospital’s local PACS system. The hope is to eventually eliminate the need for manual transmission of medical images and reports between sites contributing data to the service.