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‘When the cloud really shines’

Hurricane Harvey—along with impending storms Irma and Jose—will impact healthcare delivery for months to come. In disaster situations, it’s difficult to know where patients will ultimately end up. Having patient radiology images available eases the burden for everyone involved, ensuring patients get the best care possible.

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Hospitals were able to continue care during Hurricane Harvey with cloud-based medical image sharing

Medical professionals know better than anyone the qualities it takes to face unexpected challenges head on. They see it every day in patients who are faced with difficult diagnoses and treatments. They see the courage and strength in their patients who respond to adversity with a willingness to keep fighting, even when it’s hard. There is a word for the type of grit it takes to look positively toward the future under difficult circumstances: resilience.

Hurricane Harvey—along with impending storms Irma and Jose—are expected to impact healthcare delivery for months to come as tens of thousands of stranded patients, including those who are elderly and medically fragile, struggle to reach care to address their chronic needs.

The newly injured are expected to quickly fill up emergency departments and tax first responders working around the clock.

There is no doubt that this hurricane season is testing the resilience of thousands of people who have found themselves in the eye of a storm. We are inspired by these people and those who are standing by them to prepare ahead and offer support in the wake of the aftermath.

One example is Peggy Carney, an Outreach Coordinator on Nuance’s Diagnostics team, who watched with growing alarm as Harvey bore down on southeast Texas last week. Demonstrating her determination to go above and beyond to help patients in need, Peggy reached out to all of her Texas coastal customers and asked them how she could assist.

On a check-in call with Lake Charles Hospital in Louisiana, Peggy learned that Lake Charles was preparing to receive nearly two dozen ICU patients from a hospital in a badly flooded area of Beaumont, Texas.

One of Nuance’s diagnostic services offers the ability to share radiology images through a hub and spoke system, with patients’ medical images uploaded to the cloud and transferred to medical personnel in any location. Peggy worked behind the scenes with her teammates and the staff of the Texas and Louisiana hospitals. Clint Reese, a Nuance Application Consultant, was instrumental in ensuring that patient images were transferred from Texas to Lake Charles—in mere minutes. Trying to do this manually—burning CDs one at a time—would have taken hours, or days, if it were even possible in the rising flood waters.

Now, as Irma approaches, Peggy already has reached out to her Florida customers to communicate details of image sharing options. She and her team are on high alert, standing by for any eventuality Irma might bring.

In a Scottsdale Institute call this week, Alexander Nieto-Avila, Imaging Systems Support Manager at Tampa General Hospital discussed his own hard-won lessons learned from his Hurricane Katrina experiences in 2005.

Already he is considering scalability for image sharing capabilities should Tampa General – a 1,000+-bed Level 1 trauma and transplant center on the western coast of Florida – receive an influx of injured or evacuated patients.

“This is when the cloud really shines,” Nieto-Avila said. “The ability to move images fast is critical.”

In disaster situations, it’s difficult to know where patients will ultimately end up. Having patient radiology images available eases the burden for everyone involved, ensuring patients get the best care possible, he said.

Our thoughts remain with our colleagues, clients and partners affected by this year’s aggressive hurricane season.  Your commitment to the well-being of your patients and the continual advancement of the healthcare industry inspires us.

Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter to learn more.

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