At HIMSS, eMix to Launch Patient File Sharing Exchange
Cloud Computing Technology for Imaging Studies and Reports Is Standards-Based, Secure, Vendor-Neutral
SAN DIEGO – eMix, a new business venture incubated by DR Systems, one of the most respected names in healthcare information systems, announced its cloud-based technology for sharing imaging studies and reports -- will be launched at HIMSS10.
eMix, which stands for Electronic Medical Information Exchange, enables secure sharing of images and reports among disparate institutions and physicians via the Internet. It also facilitates associating patient images with electronic medical records (EMRs) and patients’ personal health records (PHRs).
This vendor-neutral technology eliminates the need for the provider facility to burn CDs, print films, or fax reports – and is a groundbreaking part of the trend toward universal access to medical imaging and patient electronic medical record information.
Live demonstrations of the new service can be seen in the eMix booth at the annual meeting of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), Mar. 1-4 at Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. The eMix booth is #4313, in Hall B 1.
Three medical institutions in Montana have already gone live with a beta version of eMix after successfully testing the technology last fall. The three facilities -- Great Falls Clinic (Great Falls, Mont.), Kalispell Regional Medical Center (Kalispell, Mont.) and St. Luke Community Healthcare (Ronan, Mont.) – are the first medical institutions in the nation to securely share live patient data via eMix.
Since the initial eMix beta implementations in Montana, over twenty more healthcare institutions, including imaging centers, community and large urban acute care hospitals are now participating in beta trials. These eMix sites are geographically dispersed across the U.S.; in Florida, California, Washington, Alaska, Tennessee, Colorado, Idaho, and South Dakota.
“This solution is exactly what we wanted,” said Eric Maki, Manager of Information Technology at Great Falls Clinic. “When we looked at products to address our issues, eMix was so far ahead of the other vendors that it wasn’t even close. It’s been easy to set up and easy to use.”
Great Falls and the other two eMix pioneers are part of Image Movement of Montana (IMOM), a grassroots organization comprising 30 Montana healthcare facilities. IMOM was created to address a problem for which eMix is the solution: the longstanding difficulty of sharing radiology data between facilities with differing IT systems.
“One of IMOM’s core founding principles was that the solution we chose would work for every facility,” Maki said. “We didn’t want anyone held back because they didn’t have a big IT department and a big network. One of our facilities doesn’t even have a PACs and it still works for them.”
Security was a major concern for IMOM, as it is for all medical facilities. The eMix Security Policy is composed of eight layers of security that, among other strengths, enable compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Its security layers encompass user authentication, data encryption and the ability to audit all transactions.
eMix enables healthcare institutions to avoid the expense and IT expertise required to establish and maintain virtual private networks (VPNs). VPNs are fast becoming an outdated and costly solution for medical institutions with disparate PACS to securely exchange patient imaging data over the Internet. VPNs are ad hoc arrangements that require IT support for setup and ongoing operation.
“From a cost and labor standpoint, eMix is a huge improvement over the way we used to exchange data with VPNs,” said Maki. “If a hospital changes its firewalls, for example, it has to change all its VPNs. With eMix, we don’t have to change anything. When you have VPNs, you create a long-term maintenance nightmare. We don’t have to deal with long-term VPN maintenance with eMix. Set it up and forget about it.”
Because VPNs entail so many financial and labor inefficiencies, many institutions instead have chosen workaround solutions such as burning and mailing CDs, printing film, or faxing reports. But these solutions are also labor-intensive, costly and too slow for emergency situations.
Services such as eMix can reduce expenditures in the overall U.S. healthcare system. A study published in Health Affairs in 2009 found that in 2004 alone, redundant radiology exams and lab tests added $8.2 billion in U.S. healthcare costs. Physicians often order redundant exams if they are unable to efficiently obtain a patient’s prior exams performed at a different facility. With eMix, such situations are easily avoidable.
Using eMix is as simple as using email. The sender 1) selects an exam from the worklist, 2) uploads the exam components to the eMix Web server, and 3) selects one or more recipients.
The receiver 1) receives a notification email from eMix, 2) logs in or signs in as a new user, and 3) downloads the exam. The exam can then be sent to a PACS (picture archiving and communications system), viewed with the eMix viewer, or burned to a CD.
eMix builds on innovations in cloud computing. Cloud computing refers to hosted services delivered over the Internet. The provider manages the eMix service from their facility. All the recipient user needs to participate is a computer connected to the Internet.
eMix is a new business venture incubated by DR Systems, one of the most respected names in healthcare information systems. Electronic Medical Information Exchange (eMix) is cloud-based technology developed for sharing medical imaging studies and reports between disparate healthcare facilities and physicians with the speed and simplicity of email. eMix will also facilitate the inclusion of patient images into electronic medical records (EMRs) and patients’ personal healthcare records (PHRs).
eMix will follow up the B-to-B (business-to-business) capability with the launch of a patient portal for B-to-C (business-to-consumer) data exchanges later in 2010, as well as a long-term storage feature with highly flexible user-driven storage rules and options.
For more information, visit www.eMix.com or call 877-EMIX-MED (877-364-9633).
About DR Systems, Inc.
DR Systems, Inc. is the leading independent provider of enterprise imaging and information management systems for hospitals, integrated healthcare networks and diagnostic imaging centers. For more than 17 years, the company has helped over 600 hospitals and imaging center sites lower their cost of operation by improving management of patient information, eliminating film costs, and increasing workflow speed, while providing better clinical quality and patient care. For more information, visit www.dominator.com or call 800-794-5955.