The RSNA Image Share project, designed to help patients take control of their medical images and reports, is expanding its reach, actively deploying systems to additional sites and enrolling patients to begin using the network.
RSNA has contracted with an implementation specialist to help the new sites link to the Image Share network. To do so, sites install a device called the Edge Server that connects local radiology systems to the network infrastructure. "We have a consultant who's available to these sites to assistant with implementation at no charge," said David S. Mendelson, M.D., a professor of radiology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and principal investigator on the Image Share project. "They're at different points in the implementation process. Some have accepted edge servers—the physical device—and others are signing their business associate agreement and contracts."
Over the last several months, the four initial sites in the Image Share network—Mount Sinai, Mayo Clinic, the University of Maryland Medical Center and the University of California-San Francisco—have enrolled over 1,500 patients. They plan to survey these patients about their experience in using the network to manage their images in personal health record (PHR) accounts. "We have a health policy group here at Mt. Sinai, who have produced a survey, which we'll begin sending out to patients about 6 months after they begin using the system, to give them a chance to really experience the system with multiple providers," Dr. Mendelson said.
The first of the new sites to join the network will include Advanced Radiology, a multisite radiology provider in Connecticut, and Texas Children's Hospital, where RSNA president George S. Bisset III, M.D., is Chief and Edward B. Singleton Endowed Chair of Pediatric Radiology.
RSNA is inviting vendors of radiology systems to enable those systems to link to the Image Share network by giving them the same capabilities offered by the edge server. The computer code behind the Edge Server has been publicly released as an open source program developers can use and incorporate freely in commercial systems. During the IHE Image Sharing Demonstration at RSNA 2012, vendors have the opportunity to test and demonstrate their ability to join the network. Located in Hall D, Booth 1628, the demonstration showcases the ability to exchange imaging data for a seamless patient experience and to support enhancements to patient safety and the quality and efficiency of clinical care and research. (Learn more about the demonstration here.)
The Image Share project was launched in 2009 under a contract from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB). RSNA was charged with developing a way for patients to make their imaging exams available to their physicians via the Internet without the limitations of CDs, publicizing the methods used to establish such a network and researching the experience of its users. The Image Share network architecture is based on standards defined by Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE®), an international health IT standards organization dedicated to making electronic sharing of medical information easy and secure (www.ihe.net). "We're grateful to NIBIB for their recognition of the importance of healthcare interoperability and sponsoring development of a solution for image sharing," said Dr. Mendelson. "Our focus is on patient engagement. We hope this leads to a cost-effective national infrastructure, standards-based, that makes this kind of service easily available at an extremely reasonable cost to any patient, anywhere, anytime."