Stepping in to support Europe’s commitment to strengthen e-Healthcare delivery and virtual imaging, GE Healthcare has rolled out a series of IT solutions, which are currently on display at the European Congress of Radiology, the premier radiology exhibition in Europe.

The latest technological developments in Centricity RIS/PACS (radiology information system/picture archiving and communication system) for image and information management empower any hospital IT infrastructure with e-Health enabling tools. The focus of these solutions is on information exchange, sharing workflow and building the virtual radiology and imaging department.

“In the past we have seen many healthcare enterprises of different sizes, specialties and purposes installing their own specific and dedicated IT solutions,” said Juergen Reyinger, vice president and general manager at GE Healthcare IT. “If a patient went for treatment in hospital ‘A’, he most likely was not able to share his previous health exams with the radiologists and clinicians in hospital ‘B’. Now we have noticed a definite change in IT purchasing behaviour to cross-enterprise and regional e-Health solutions.”

The new Centricity Imaging Portal on display at ECR is the right tool to support e-Health projects and avoid loss of patient data. In a cross-hospital and a multi-vendor environment the Centricity Imaging Portal allows access to a global patient history and facilitates multi-disciplinary conferences and secure web access to images and documents. The goal is that several healthcare enterprises share multi-disciplinary information, images and reports. Thereby the solution is following latest international standards like XDS (cross enterprise document sharing), defined by IHE (Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise).

“This is the trend to come,” added Ben Bauershaper, general manager of imaging solutions at GE Healthcare IT. “What is needed are IT solutions allowing a shared investment and even more important, a shared workflow between healthcare enterprises of all kinds in order to save costs and better leverage resources.”

There are many reasons today to re-think healthcare IT. Whether that is the worldwide economic crisis resulting in even tighter budgets, the lack of qualified healthcare and IT specialists or the requirement to deliver higher quality of care to an increasingly self-determined patient, all these factors are asking healthcare IT to challenge and re-invent itself.

Re-inventing healthcare IT

One significant step to re-invent healthcare IT can be found in the new applications Centricity Web and web-based RIS/PACS, also presented at this year’s ECR. Centricity RIS/PACS fulfills the expectations of small installations up to university and regional projects and meets the increasing demand of referring physicians for advanced postprocessing tools. It is user-friendly, easy and fast to install yet offers modern tools like ultra-fast streaming technology, ‘pixel-on-demand’, MIP/MPR (maximum intensity projection module/multiple planar reconstruction) and PET/CT (positron emission tomography/computed tomography). Temporary access via ‘Grant Access’ and advanced 3D technology to easily evaluate huge sets of data are key for referring physicians.

For fast image distribution, Centricity Web, as an addition to the GE’s Enterprise PACS, is the ideal solution for high expectations of clinicians who want to stay flexible, need a rich set of tools and wish to immediately discuss diagnostic results with their patients. Even with a low bandwidth, Centricity Advanced Web grants access to a big set of tools with a simple internet connection; MIP/MPR, integrated ultrasound, mammography and orthopedic tools, easy second opinion consulting, printing and burning of CDs from any PC, and a lot more.

For the first time at ECR, GE Healthcare is showcasing its mammography workflow solution to handle the post-acquisition workflow resulting from an increasing use of digital mammography. The solution ensures a high performance and quality driven workflow, increased user flexibility, multi-faceted collaboration and clinical data integrity. The highlights are integrated BI-RADS (breast-imaging-reporting-and-data-system) structured reporting, automated double reading workflows, intuitive viewing, its vendor independency and fast, one-click installation.

“Sometimes I am asked why regional e-Health solutions have been so slow to be implemented. First, it took quite a long time to agree on common international standards. Secondly, the trend to provide web-based and ultra-fast streaming technology started only last year and merely a handful of providers are able to offer this technology today,” Bauerschaper concluded.