Presentation Title

Assessment of Barriers to Interoperability in Medical Image Exchange: A Mixed Methods Approach

Abstract

Medical images, comprised of noninvasive imaging technologies such as radiography, ultrasound, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging, are critical diagnostic tools routinely used in medicine today. As part of each patient's medical record, relevant medical images must be communicated to the operating physician any time a patient seeks services outside of their care network or at a new facility. Currently, image sharing is predominantly carried out by manual transportation of compact disks (CDs) by the patient, despite the invention of DICOM—a protocol that allows for digital communication of medical images. Today, more than three decades after initial publication of DICOM standards, adoption of DICOM-compatible systems has nevertheless been limited. As such, the unstandardized format of electronic medical images makes interoperability a significant barrier to digital image exchange between clinical settings. Lack of interoperability has manifested in an environment of wasted time, money, and resources. The purpose of this research was to investigate the specific logistical and behavioral barriers that have prevented the standardized implementation of DICOM-compatible imaging computer systems in the healthcare setting. A systematic review of literature in health information exchange revealed the potential for appreciable improvements in cost savings with the incorporation of DICOM-compatible image sharing in the clinical setting. Further, a questionnaire for assessment of site-specific readiness for change was designed as a tool that can be used to predict hospitals' readiness for DICOM adoption. Limitations to this study include that it did not take into account the initial costs, digital security, lack of DICOM education, and intellectual property barriers that may be associated with DICOM implementation.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Paula Deming

Secondary Mentor NetID

eamiel

Secondary Mentor Name

Eyal Amiel

Status

Graduate

Student College

College of Nursing and Health Sciences

Program/Major

Medical Laboratory Science

Primary Research Category

Health Sciences

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Assessment of Barriers to Interoperability in Medical Image Exchange: A Mixed Methods Approach

Medical images, comprised of noninvasive imaging technologies such as radiography, ultrasound, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging, are critical diagnostic tools routinely used in medicine today. As part of each patient's medical record, relevant medical images must be communicated to the operating physician any time a patient seeks services outside of their care network or at a new facility. Currently, image sharing is predominantly carried out by manual transportation of compact disks (CDs) by the patient, despite the invention of DICOM—a protocol that allows for digital communication of medical images. Today, more than three decades after initial publication of DICOM standards, adoption of DICOM-compatible systems has nevertheless been limited. As such, the unstandardized format of electronic medical images makes interoperability a significant barrier to digital image exchange between clinical settings. Lack of interoperability has manifested in an environment of wasted time, money, and resources. The purpose of this research was to investigate the specific logistical and behavioral barriers that have prevented the standardized implementation of DICOM-compatible imaging computer systems in the healthcare setting. A systematic review of literature in health information exchange revealed the potential for appreciable improvements in cost savings with the incorporation of DICOM-compatible image sharing in the clinical setting. Further, a questionnaire for assessment of site-specific readiness for change was designed as a tool that can be used to predict hospitals' readiness for DICOM adoption. Limitations to this study include that it did not take into account the initial costs, digital security, lack of DICOM education, and intellectual property barriers that may be associated with DICOM implementation.