TERRE HAUTE —
Paris (Ill.) Community Hospital/Family Medical Center has recently connected with a multi-hospital network that allows quick transfer of radiology images for analysis by specialty physicians in nearly 40 other locations.
The Paris facility has joined the Indiana University Health Radiology Cloud, which links it electronically with 38 hospitals and medical centers in Indiana. A computer network system, through seemyradiology.com, allows the hospital to transfer radiology images (such as CT scans, X-rays, nuclear medicine, ultrasound and MRI scans) for review.
“We are now able to send and receive images within this large network.,” said Elisha Farmer, administrator of the PCH/FMC Picture Archiving Communication System.
“This is especially important for trauma patients because of how quickly we can transfer images. It’s also beneficial for inpatients, outpatients, surgical consultations and routine visits where patients need to share images between facilities.”
Securely transferring images via the Internet, which can take as little as three minutes, is intended to replace the previous method of placing diagnostic images on a CD, according to a news release. In the past, CDs containing the images were either mailed or sent with a patient who was being transferred from PCH/FMC to another facility. Digital image transfer allows specialists to view images much quicker and develop a treatment plan long before the patient arrives at their facility.
“As a critical access hospital, this is being the best we can be to service patients within that golden hour of life,” Farmer said. “The golden hour of life is that critical time between when a traumatic injury occurs and when the patient is stabilized, diagnosed and treated.”
PCH/FMC’s image transfer project began four years ago. The hospital was the first to establish an electronic connection with Carle Hospital, a Level I trauma center. Connections to other neighboring healthcare facilities were added shortly thereafter, and included Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center, Union Hospital and UAP Clinic in Terre Haute.
“The number of hospitals we are able to network with continues to expand,” Farmer said. “We are excited to be able to offer this to our patients.”
In addition to its connection with the Indiana University health cloud, PCH/FMC recently became the first hospital in the nation to launch new imaging software from Mplexus. This ground-breaking software retrieves a patient’s prior related images and bundles them with his most current images, creating a complete digital image package.
“It’s huge for patient care,” Farmer said. “For example, if someone suffers brain trauma or a stroke, having access to prior images (if they are available) would be extremely useful for diagnosis. Comparing past images with current images would allow us to determine the best care plan for the patient.”