Category: Blog

21 Dec 2017
Spectra Filmless

The Exciting Case of the Vanishing Films

Welcome to the Filmless Era of Medical Imaging Solutions

The world of medical imaging was revolving around films for almost a century, when the 1980s opened the floodgates into the digital era. With medical imaging solutions such as PACS transforming the radiology landscape, the distance between radiologists, patients, and care providers have drastically reduced. But one of the most radical changes has been the case of the vanishing films. Yes, cumbersome films and film viewers, which used to be commonplace in clinics and hospitals until recently, are suddenly disappearing! But no one’s really complaining about this change because medical imaging is now filmless, thanks to the digital era.

Is going filmless such an advantage? What benefits can this move bring to the radiologist, care provider, and the patient? Let’s take a look!

The Practical Problem with Films

For the patient
The entire medical imaging process can be exhausting for a patient when films are involved. The need to go back and forth between the care provider’s office and the imaging center to collect the films is often tiresome. In addition, it is the patient’s responsibility to store the report and the films carefully, carrying them during every visit to the care provider. The scope of misplacing the reports or swapping the films exponentially increases the possibility of error. These undesirable delays and error-prone practices often widen the gap between such diagnostic procedures and the final diagnosis of the underlying condition.

For the care provider
A care provider definitely needs to be physically holding the film to assess the report and make a diagnosis. The need for additional devices such as film viewers necessitates more appointments with the same patient before taking a decision. This would mean seeing lesser patients and increased stress. With no option to study the report in-depth, films limit the scope for an accurate diagnosis.

For the radiologist
The workload on the radiologist is definitely much higher, given the time and effort it takes to develop films and interpret the readings to create the report. The operational costs are also high, because of the additional resources required for managing patients who have to visit twice – once for the test and second for the report. Maintaining an accurate repository of the records is also a challenge. Hence, the entire radiology workflow is complicated because it revolves around efficient film management.

Filmless Imaging – the perfect solution

The perfect imaging solution that will resolve the pain points associated with films should focus on five critical areas: time, quality, error-free process, ease of access, and an intuitive user experience. Filmless imaging easily ticks all these boxes.

Filmless imaging for care providers
The ability to share images instantly is one of the biggest advantages of filmless imaging, giving easy access to images and reports. The zero-footprint DICOM viewer ensures a paperless experience and enables care providers to access images anywhere from anytime. Mobile-viewing capabilities in terms of pinch, spread, and swipe options deliver a consistent user experience to the care providers across devices. Care providers no longer wait for a second appointment with the patient to confirm diagnosis. They have real-time access to images and reports, which help them take a data-driven, timely decision about the diagnosis even before meeting the patient.

Filmless imaging delivers incredible support tools for performing in-depth assessments. Precision analysis tools and click-of-a-button options such as magnification, contrast, compare, matrix, cine, and flip support care providers in performing a detailed assessment and even comparing against earlier studies. The nano-compressed files help store high-resolution images without loss of space. Hence these images give care providers the power to zoom in to perform intricate analysis. Collaborative assessment with peers is also possible through easy image transfer options. These features ensure that care providers conduct a thorough and quick review before confirming the diagnosis.

Filmless imaging for patients
Patients no longer have to wait in queue to collect reports. They have easy, permission-based access to reports and images through desktops or mobile phones. They no longer have to carry around heavy films for their visits. Their repository of reports gives them the convenience to accurately share their medical information anytime from anywhere. This speeds up the treatment and ensures a positive patient experience.

Filmless imaging for radiologists
A comprehensive dashboard and workbench provides innumerable options for radiologists to do a thorough and quick job. Detailed windowing tools, options to annotate, and manage study lists helps them organize their work efficiently. In addition, extensive reporting templates with standard reporting terminologies decreases scope for error while creating reports. Advanced imaging options with client viewer integrations enable the delivery of a thorough and detailed report every time. The online repository of reports and images provide a quick reference library to conduct pattern-based studies.

Allaying Two Serious Concerns of Filmless Imaging: Security and Storage

Two of the most serious concerns about filmless imaging are security and storage. The robust, permission-based platform delivered by intelligent image management software ensures a secure and reliable option to store and manage reports and images. In addition, cloud-based solutions deliver the biggest advantage of a single version of data being accessible to every authorized stakeholder, reducing the chances for version issues.

Storage-related complications can easily be overcome through smart storage options delivered by DICOM-compliant imaging solutions. A well-organized online repository reduces clutter and supports an efficient query- and rule-based retrieval system. These approaches eliminate the hassles of server space and safety.

Conclusion: The Filmless Revolution in Medical Imaging is Here to Stay

The transformation into the filmless era is almost complete. The spectacular additional benefits brought by filmless imaging go even beyond convenience, time, and accuracy. This approach streamlines the entire imaging process and integrates with every aspect of RIS and HIS. This systematization of the entire imaging process is one of the biggest victories of filmless imaging. With potentially disruptive technologies such as AI and machine learning delivering intelligent solutions in predictive diagnostics, the symbiotic association of filmless imaging with such innovative solutions will definitely explore new horizons.

But the question you need to answer right now is, have you taken the first step toward film-less imaging yet? Click here for a free demo.

31 Oct 2017
Millennials and their health care expectations

Millennials And Health Care Expectations – The Harbinger of Revolution in Delivering Comprehensive Care

Millennials – the generation that grew up devouring the explosion of innovative technologies and the age-group that believes in finding answers on their own – are the current focus of most verticals, from e-commerce to healthcare. This target audience is now well into their 30s and has emerged as the most influential customers, especially for the healthcare sector. Although the healthcare sector realizes the power of the millennials, there’s still a huge gap between what the care landscape has to offer and the expectations of this age-group.

Gap between Millennial Expectations and Care Reality

What’s causing this gap? Let’s look at 5 reasons contribute to this confusing scenario:

Impatient, on-demand reality

The care ecosystem is still predominantly in its traditional “wait in queue” model while the “right here right now” world of millennials expects their care interaction to match their other day-to-day experiences – a mobile-app-based, on-demand service.

Customer-centric experience:

With every business aiming at delivering a customer-centric experience, the millennials are loving the personalized attention they receive from all quarters. This expectation extends to the healthcare landscape too, which is unfortunately stuck in its traditional system-based approaches.

Independent decision-making

Gone are the days where patients had to blindly follow the doctor’s instructions without any questions. Today’s patients are “customers” who expect to be treated like equals, making significant contributions to every decision taken regarding their health. Social media platforms and opinions of peers deliver the background they require to make sound decisions. But not all providers and comfortable making this transition.

Easy access to information

This age-group clearly also has easy access to trusted information – through the Internet, which is accessible at their fingertips. Trusted research reports and studies deliver “authentic” information to these patients, which can be used as their strongest weapon to assess their provider’s capability.

Technological innovations

The most important of all contributors to the millennials’ expectations is the exponential technological improvements over the last few decades. With every field embracing the power of technology to deliver a great experience, the expectations from healthcare are no different.

Technology-Driven Solutions
Despite the sky-high expectations from the millennials, the healthcare landscape has not moved at the desired pace to catch up with the millennials’ wish list. But many care players have played their cards right with the support of technology-driven solutions. What are these perfect moves that have made a lot of difference?

No more queues

“Visiting” the doctor no longer means waiting in long queues – app-based appointment booking at the click of a button ensures a confirmed pre-paid appointment.

Virtual visits to the doctor

Studies indicate that more than 50% of millennials prefer a virtual mode of care interactions to the traditional approach. Telemedicine as an option has evolved as quite a popular option in care provision.

Hassle-free and secure care

Millennials expect hassle-free care – they do not appreciate the stress of maintaining sheets of paperwork – from diagnostic reports to insurance payments. Secure, permission-based online platforms that maintain the entire health records – history and current treatments – at one place is quite an attractive option.

Transparent care process

The age of blind faith in the system of healthcare is long gone. Today’s millennials appreciate a transparent care process, right from reviewing trusted online and offline sources for a detailed feedback on their care providers to assessing effects of prescribed medications.

Wellness rather than just treatment

From the ever-increasing demand for fitness wearable to remote monitoring of body parameters in real time, healthcare on-demand focuses not only on treatment and diagnostics but also on holistic well-being.

Yes, the millennials have reshaped the healthcare landscape and are leading a technology-driven revolution to transform healthcare from a rigid system to a patient-centric experience. With the aim of establishing a healthy living, today’s care system is looking at partnering with the millennials through the bridge of technology. Where are you in your care journey of delivering a millennial-friendly experience?

24 Oct 2017
Data security in health care

The Modern-Day Achilles Heel of Healthcare: Fighting Data Breach with Airtight Data Security

The healthcare landscape has undergone tremendous transformation, thanks to the technology-driven giant strides it has taken over the years. From innovations enabling treatment and diagnosis, technology has now moved into a data-centric era that has created a wide network of doctors, specialists, lab technicians, pharmacists, insurance providers, and many other stakeholders. At the center of all these initiatives are the patients – and patients are certainly experiencing an exemplary care experience. However, alongside such encouraging stories is the equally disquieting threat to data security.

Yes, threats to healthcare data security are a troublesome reality today – with shocking incidents of data loss, ransomware, network infiltration, and patient safety.

Data Security Breach: The Threat Is Real

The year 2015 was termed the “year of healthcare hack,” with more than 50% of data breaches recorded in the industry. This was when healthcare stakeholders woke up to the threat of data loss. However, despite increasing awareness, the bone-chilling WannaCry ransomware attack that spelled disaster for the National Health Service and thousands of other incidents are grim reminders of the continuing menace of data threat.

Why is healthcare attractive bait for data security breaches? Just consider the power of the data hidden among medical records! Personal details (identity, location, contact numbers), insurance information, Finance-related data (credit or debit card identity), and medical history are fodder for identity thefts, healthcare insurance abuse, ransomware attacks, and other means of creating havoc on a large scale.

Despite the growing proof of the vulnerability of data in healthcare, why are the stakeholders still lagging behind in data security than other industries?

The reasons for this relatively lethargic approach are many:

  • The explosion of technological innovations in the landscape that has extensively distributed healthcare data across the network
  • The increasingly popular BYOD culture and the need to deliver 24*7 connected care has led to a disproportionate swarming of devices with no control for data threats
  • The lack of focus on data security by healthcare stakeholders who prioritize patient care to data security compliance while delivering care or procuring care-driven technology solutions

So as a healthcare stakeholder, how can you ensure that there is no loss of data?

7 Ways to Secure Your Data in the Healthcare Landscape

Having realized the dangers of data breach, you, as healthcare stakeholders, can contribute immensely to securing your data:

  1. Prioritize data security when planning your healthcare investments. Include prevention of data threats when planning your technology adoption strategies
  2. Ensure that your organization complies with all the required data-related regulations (HIPAA, EPCS, HITECH, etc.)
  3. Evaluate the option of adopting data encryption even across your routine operations so you can safeguard your data within your organization
  4. Invest in backing up critical data – so you can be prepared even in case of a ransom-ware attack
  5. Ensure that you have access to data experts with the right skill sets who can protect healthcare data within your organization
  6. Provide role-based authentication and permission-based access to data, and generate visibility across the data network to monitor the person accessing the information, the device used, and the information accessed in real time
  7. Ensure complete compliance from care stakeholders by delivering training on the relevance of data security and the dos and don’ts (e.g., risk of ransom-ware attacks through emails)

Healthcare organizations are certainly becoming increasingly aware of the dangers of data loss, data breach, ransomware attacks, and other threats to data security. The last two years have highlighted many examples of the repercussions of ignoring data security. But there’s still a long way to go. Our stakeholders need to realize that to secure your data and to create a “no loss of data” environment, we need to learn from the other industries that have made data security their priority. As a healthcare stakeholder, you will need help to implement stringent data protection solutions in your organization. Look for the experts delivering healthcare data security without compromising on care delivery standards. But remember to get started today.

10 Oct 2017
Mobile technology applications in health care

7 Key Focus Areas of Mobile Healthcare Applications

Welcome to the Era of Pocket-Sized Smart Care – Mobile technology applications in healthcare

We live in a perennially mobile world, managing almost every life activity (from work to shopping) “on the go” – thanks to the “smart” phones that have become such an integral part of lives. The healthcare ecosystem is certainly not lagging behind in embracing mobile technology.

The very term “mhealth” is proof of mobile technology’s relevance in healthcare. Mobile healthcare applications have exploded the care landscape because of their ability to simplify access to care and deliver a superior care experience from both the care providers’ and the patients’ point of view.

Here are 7 key focus areas of mobile healthcare applications that are gaining tremendous attention in today’s care landscape.

1. Easy access to care

Mobile apps have simplified the burdensome task of choosing a care provider, booking appointments, and follow-up sessions with the clinic or hospital. This has drastically reduced waiting times at the doctor’s office and increased the efficiency of the entire care process. With SMS reminders, prepaid options, and 24/7 call options, these apps also provide patients with options of rating care providers, thereby delivering a transparent care ecosystem.

2. Easy interaction between care providers

One of the primary source of delays in the care process is the long waiting period and the never-ending back and forth between multiple care points – doctors, labs, imaging system, second opinions, insurance companies, and pharmacies, for example. Mobile apps create a strong network of care providers who interact productively through apps, guaranteeing a secure and professional platform that enables informed and timely decision-making.

3. Medical record maintenance

Trusted app that effortlessly maintain medical records and patient history have always been on top of the care landscape’s list of priorities. These apps are simple interfaces that facilitate easy recording of diagnosis, examination, medication, and treatment regimens with zero need for multiple sources of data entry and minimal version issues.

4. Remote patient engagement

Delivering a positive patient experience is no longer restricted to focusing just on treatment and diagnostic modalities. It involves providing the patient with complete support – right from easy access to care even from remote. There are many examples of remote patient engagement:

  • Video-call options with patients
  • Engaging in healthcare awareness drives
  • e-Prescription and remote monitoring of medication compliance
  • Remote treatment of patients in remote locations and elderly patients by mapping their vital body parameters and alerting care providers in case of deviations

5. Chronic condition care support

Smartphone apps have become critical support systems in delivering care for chronic conditions such as diabetes. Many apps help patients to efficiently manage their blood sugar levels, maintain a nutrition diary, and transform their lifestyle to avoid the complications of diabetes.

6. Wellness support

Care is no longer associated with the absence of any disease or disorder – it’s also about the wellness of the body and mind. Hence, wellness-related apps are exponentially increasing in popularity, from simple apps that measure the number of steps walked over a specified period and heart rate to apps that track exercise, diet, and sleep. Customized dashboards deliver a clear overview of the health condition of the patient.

7. Continued learning for care providers

Staying up-to-date in today’s care ecosystem requires that the care providers stay on top of every innovation, new disease and condition, novel medical device, ongoing research, and pharmaceutical discovery. Apps that consolidate specialty-specific data and references from across the medical world are hugely popular. Given the nature of the care providers, this service too needs to deliver a 24/7 access to any location – and mobility perfectly fits this bill.
Conclusion – anytime, anywhere care
mHealth is fast becoming synonymous with delivering smart care anytime from anywhere – a super-efficient means of enabling health and wellness. The challenge is to cut through the excessive clutter of mhealth apps and find your right fit and to ensure that your healthcare solution includes mobility-first features. Today’s care world is certainly on its way to fit right in your pocket! So how ready are you to go the mhealth way?

23 Aug 2017
Artificial Intelligence

6 Outstanding Applications of AI in Today’s Care Ecosystem

Behold the Magic of Intelligent Care Healthcare with Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) – the smart, cognitive devices of today’s era – has penetrated extensively across all possible verticals – from financial services to manufacturing – and healthcare is no exception. With interest in AI booming exponentially, its scope of application in care-based applications has widened beyond imagination.

Reports indicate that the AI-driven healthcare market will see a tremendous growth of almost 40% by the end of this decade. From delivering advanced care-related information to physicians to make informed decisions to personalized real-time treatment, advanced applications of AI in healthcare are indeed revolutionizing care.

Let’s check out some of the outstanding applications of AI in today’s care ecosystem.

1. Diagnosis

One of the most advanced applications of AI in healthcare is in disease diagnosis. With AI, machines are supercharged with the ability to analyze voluminous data from medical images, prompting early diagnosis of many disorders. AI provides an easy solution through intelligent diagnostic imaging. This approach has multiple applications in proactive diagnosis of the possibility of stroke, tumor growth, and certain types of cancer, giving the physician the chance to derive a comprehensive treatment plans for patients well ahead of time.

2. Biomarkers

Biomarkers automatically provide accurate visual and audio data of patients’ vital health parameters that indicate the presence of specific medical conditions, help choose the ideal medications, or assess treatment sensitivity. Biomarkers accurately capture symptoms, as against the guesswork of symptoms perceived by patients. The accuracy and speed of biomarkers have made them the preferred tools of diagnosis, promptly highlighting possibilities of any disorders.

3. Virtual nursing assistance

AI -based applications and chat bots support care providers in delivering nursing assistance after discharge from hospital. This feature helps simplify provision of outpatient services and increases the accuracy of monitoring patient compliance post discharge. Available even as simple wearable’s and on smart phones, these AI-enabled devices also act as virtual health assistants that remind patients about their medications, encourage them to follow their exercise routines, answer simple medical clarifications sought by patients, and warn care providers about any untoward incidents such as sudden increase in blood pressure or a fall.

4. Remote monitoring of patients

This involves round-the-clock remote monitoring of patients, constant evaluation of their vital signs, and real-time alerts to caretakers and care providers. This remote assessment of vital health parameters helps physicians identify core symptoms of diseases and disorders in patients and respond accordingly. This approach clearly prevents unnecessary visits to the physician to a great extent.

5. AI and drug discovery

AI-driven computing can accurately and promptly study structures of multiple drug molecules and predict their pharmacological activity, potency, and adverse effects. This possibility opens up a rapid and cost-efficient route of drug discovery. It also has the chance of drastically reducing the cost of medications. Used across pharmaceutical companies, AI-based drug discovery has contributed to supporting the treatment of cancer and neurodegenerative disorders.

6. AI-enabled hospital care

AI simplifies care delivery in hospitals through a wide range of solutions including smart monitoring of IV solutions, patient medication tracking, patient alert systems, nursing staff performance assessment systems, and patient movement tracking within hospitals. Robot-assisted surgeries and AI applications in routine phlebotomy procedures are other potentially useful applications. AI has been found to considerably decrease dosage errors and increase nursing staff productivity in hospitals.

Conclusion – the era of AI has arrived in style
With voluminous investments pouring in for AI applications in healthcare, this technology still has a long way to go, despite its presence in healthcare for quite many years now. The main reasons for its slow adoption are the cost of research, the security concerns involved in opening up extensive databases, and misconceptions or errors in coming to quick conclusions. But the quest for ideal AI solutions looks quite promising indeed, with AI supplementing healthcare and improving the quality of care from diagnosis to prognosis.
So, where are you in your journey towards an AI-driven care ecosystem?