Tools you didn’t know you needed for imaging modalities that don’t even exist yet.
While it’s important (nay, essential) to keep an eye on the future and plan for new technologies, it’s equally important to ensure the technologies you have in place, or are considering introducing, will address your current challenges and bring immediate measurable return on investment in terms of care quality and efficiency, stakeholder satisfaction, and/or your financial bottom line. As such, it is necessary to perform a careful evaluation of your current-state workflow and technical ecosystem and design an Enterprise Imaging strategy that aligns with your near and long-term objectives, resource plan, and budget. The following considerations can assist you in your evaluation:
- Remember the Pareto Principle (80/20 rule): this states that in most cases 80% of your results will come from 20% of your activities. Or conversely, 80% of your problems stem from 20% of the root causes. In the imaging world this means incremental improvements should not be undervalued. Comprehensive workflow analysis can uncover inefficiencies, gaps, and opportunities for optimization that may not all require a heavy lift to address. Focusing on technologies that are equipped to optimize core workflows will often get you further than looking at bells and whistles that bring incremental value to only a few narrow use cases.
- Don’t be blinded by the shiny objects: Speaking of bells and whistles, some vendor technologies appear to offer lots and lots of these and boast their ability to go broad and deep across the entire spectrum of imaging specialties – well beyond the traditional ‘ologies. What you have to determine is, while they may have lots of tools that tick many of your RFP boxes, how well do these tools work in reality? Do they adequately cover the breadth of functionality you require to truly integrate into or replace incumbent technologies? How reliable are they, and have they been proven in clinical practice? If not, are you willing to invest the time and resources to help your vendor overcome these hurdles and develop potentially disruptive technologies (because there are definitely pros and cons on each side of that fence)? Be sure to carefully evaluate the needs of your service lines and care providers, and consider your available resources when evaluating how many of these tools and features can be feasibly integrated into your workflow, which will make a real, measurable impact in your organization, and which ones are the ‘shiny objects’ to be avoided (at least for now).
- Don’t get hit by the swinging pendulum: There’s been a lot of debate and shifting of opinions in the industry regarding which deployment model is best: best-of-breed, or single-vendor. While both have their merits, the real answer often lies somewhere in between. No one vendor yet provides all of the tools and features that will satisfy the bespoke needs of primary care providers, specialists, clinicians, patients, and other stakeholders across the care continuum. This means that in pretty much all cases you will be looking at some flavour of a multi-vendor solution. How much you can squeeze out of your primary vendor depends again on their capabilities, product maturity, and how these align with the unique needs of your particular organization. Try not to fall victim to the swinging ‘hype’ pendulum and force yourself into one model or the other – rather, take the time to properly assess your current and desired future states alongside the current and future capabilities of technology vendors, and look for a fit that will bring the most value today, while supporting your vision for tomorrow.
Are you in the market for an Enterprise Imaging or PACS replacement solution? We can help you separate truth from fiction and select a strategy, technology, and vendor that will best fit your organizational capabilities and needs. Contact us to setup a meeting at RSNA 2019.
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