Move to cloud nine

When seconds mean the difference between life and death, having the most accurate, up-to-date patient images and reports at your fingertips is vital.

The facts are undeniable 

  • The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) estimates 20 percent of radiological images are redundant, costing the U.S about $10 B annually.
  • Duplicate images expose patients to additional and unnecessary radiation.
  • Imaging is ranked the second highest cost-driver in healthcare, behind pharmaceuticals 

Something has to change
Healthcare has taken a cue from the consumer space and moved to the cloud. Although there are many benefits to this, one of the greatest is the ability to seamlessly share images and reports across distances and platforms. Cloud-based image exchanges connect and network physicians, facilities and patients anywhere in the world in a groundbreaking way, and allow them to manage, view and share information on desktops, tablets or mobile apps. As patients stray further from home, and healthcare organizations push further into community-based care, connecting hospitals, imaging centers, practice groups and specialists at a fast, yet secure pace is essential for collaboration and care coordination in the future.

The practical applications for this information exchange are life-saving. Consider a trauma patient transfer.  A referring physician in a rural area can send a CT scan to a trauma center miles away with the swipe of a finger. The emergency department team at the trauma center is now able to review the images in real-time, alert the medical staff, and prepare the operating and recovery rooms all before the ambulance even arrives. When seconds mean the difference between life and death, having the most accurate, up-to-date information at your fingertips is vital.

Placing power in the patient’s hands
Cloud-based networks also enable patients to access their own images and reports and to share those with physicians or members in the network as easily as members share using LinkedIn. A woman who tears a ligament in her knee while on vacation receives an X-ray on a CD to share with her orthopedic surgeon back home. Instead of waiting to hand-deliver her scan, she uploads the image to her Network, and sends her surgeon an invitation to view the image as easily as people share files using DropBox. He is able to see what the radiologist noted in her report and can view the X-ray, scheduling the proper surgery, while the patient flies back home.  These social networking-type interfaces are intuitive and easy to use, fostering a cooperative partnership between patients and physicians—the definition of continuity of care.

As we look to the future, cloud-based image sharing will not only increase in adoption, but radiologists and CIOs alike will look to the cloud to share more than just images. To learn more about streamlining the way we all can now share reports and images, visit

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About Rodney Hawkins

This was a contributed post by Rodney Hawkins. To see more content like this, visit the Healthcare section of our blog.