An electronic, cloud-based approach to sharing radiology files with other medical institutions is expediting the care of UC San Diego Health System trauma patients. The method is currently being used to speed the diagnosis and treatment of patients sent to UC San Diego Medical Center-Hillcrest from remote area hospitals.
''The efficiency and reliability of cloud computing is excellent,'' said Jeanne Lee, MD, trauma surgeon at UC San Diego Health System. ''It is an advance in the way we exchange medical information between health care facilities. This benefits our trauma patients for diagnoses and treatment and cuts down on redundant imaging.''
Hospitals have traditionally shared radiology files by burning images to a CD and then sending the disc via courier or a virtual private network (VPN). Using a cloud-based technology, called Electronic Medical Information Exchange or eMix, crucial imaging files and reports can be transmitted via the Internet in advance of a patient's arrival.
''The file sharing we've done with the cloud-based process has been trouble-free,'' said Amy Radonich, assistant director, Imaging Services at UC San Diego Health System. ''Burning CDs and using VPNs are workaround solutions that are prone to problems. We're addressing those issues by using this web-based form of technology.''
Until recently, files of trauma patients were sent from El Centro to UCSD Medical Center-Hillcrest in the ambulance or air transport. At times, the exchange would fail due to lost or unreadable CDs. In these cases, the patients were often re-imaged upon arrival, which exposed them to additional radiation, and delayed treatment.
Because it is web-based, cloud-based technology often overcomes the issue of incompatible IT systems. There is no software or hardware for the user facility to maintain and the files can be transferred in minutes with a few computer clicks.