Starkville Ortho Switches to On-demand PACS to Relieve Pain

Orthopedic clinic switches to new PACS to cut costs, improve workflows, increase storage and add disaster recovery

MINNEAPOLIS—July 22, 2009—7 Medical Systems™, a leader in on-demand picture archiving and communication system (PACS), teleradiology, and electronic medical record (EMR) solutions for healthcare, today announced that Starkville Orthopedic Clinic has switched to a new PACS, the 7 Ortho-on-Demand™ PACS from 7 Medical.

Starkville Orthopedic Clinic delivers a wide range of joint services including general orthopedics, sports medicine, total joint replacement, arthroscopy, carpal tunnel treatment, pediatric orthopedic and upper extremity care. The facility is dedicated to relieving joint pain and restoring function and mobility through the expertise of its physicians, and values technology as a means to improve quality of care.

Located in Oktibbeha County in eastern Mississippi, Starkville Orthopedic is the only orthopedic clinic serving more than 24,000 residents of Starkville and neighboring communities. The rural facility provides important services to the towns and counties of Winston, Webster, Noxubee, Clay, Choctaw, and Lowndes. In addition, Starkville Orthopedic supports the Mississippi State University campus student and athlete population. The busy clinic sees more than 50 patients each day, four days per week.

THE CHALLENGE

Starkville Orthopedic had switched to digital imaging years ago, but the consensus among physicians and staff was that the current PACS lacked adequate storage, and there was no off-site, redundant disaster recovery solution. Cognizant of complaints from staff that clinic workflow was less than optimal, the facility began exploring alternative PACS providers.

The clinic evaluation team identified costs, reliable service and support, sufficient storage with room for growth, and disaster recovery as top priorities. Starkville Orthopedic’s physicians wanted to incorporate orthopedic digital planning and surgical templating software that would seamlessly support physicians both on-site and for reference in the hospital’s operating room, located across the street. They also required Web viewing functionality that was higher quality than their current setup.

“Because we had a PACS, we knew what was working and what wasn’t, and our expectations were very high. 7 Medical’s PACS gave us flexibility to pick and choose the features and functionality that best fit our practice,” said Mike Farley, Administrator of Starkville Orthopedic Clinic.

THE COMPLETE, FLEXIBLE SOLUTION

The Price is Right. With the original PACS system, Starkville Orthopedic invested large upfront capital to purchase equipment and paid hefty annual maintenance fees. In contrast, 7 Medical’s Ortho-on-Demand PACS eliminates any upfront capital expenses, and there are no annual maintenance fees for system upgrades or updates. Rather than the traditional capital-intensive model of purchasing a new PACS system, Starkville Orthopedic subscribes to 7 Medical’s PACS service and pays an affordable monthly fee based on usage, paying for only the studies it uses each month.

“In this uncertain economy, lowering the cost of entry made it possible for us to get into a new PACS without the huge upfront capital cost, not to mention annual maintenance. We were able to add functionality in the most cost-effective way,” said Farley.

Reliable Service and Support. The fact that each aspect of the old PACS system was managed by a different vendor added complexity and caused confusion. Isolating technical issues was challenging, and they never knew which vendor to call for support.

States Farley, “Implementing the new PACS was a cinch. Our 7 Medical project manager handled everything, including integrating the new PACS to our existing CR unit. Now we just call one number and that makes our lives so much easier. More important, 7 Medical responds quickly and with stellar customer service. That’s critical when we are the only orthopedic group serving Starkville and the surrounding areas.”

Scalable Storage Clears Headroom for Growth. In the past, images from the CR were routed to the quality control workstation. After quality control, images were then pushed to the viewing workstation and the PACS server, which was inconveniently located in a back room. As images fell off the viewing workstation to accommodate new studies, the staff was forced to search for studies on the old PACS server and manually push them back to the viewing workstation so physicians could view them and prepare for surgery.

“Accessing priors on the old system was frustrating. The process was cumbersome and slowed us down because we didn’t know if the images were still on the viewing workstation or had fallen off to the server,” said Vicki LaGrone, X-ray Technologist at Starkville Orthopedic Clinic. “Also, we were running out of space on the old PACS server and would have had to incur costs for additional storage.”

With 7 Medical’s new PACS service, the 7i PACS Gateway™ server delivers short-term, on-site storage, and is configurable to hold images as long as required. In addition, a copy of all studies is securely routed to a long-term archive in 7 Medical’s data center off site, and all images are available for viewing anytime. The 7 Medical PACS solution is flexible and scalable for growth. Additional storage space is easy to add when it’s needed.

Anywhere, Anytime Access to Web Viewer. With the old PACS, Starkville Orthopedic experienced issues with image quality when viewing them from the viewing workstation. Also, images were only viewable from the workstation on site. Remote viewing from home, satellite clinics, or other locations was not available.

With the new 7 Medical PACS, images are automatically routed to the 7i PACS Gateway server and the 7 Medical data center. The 7i Web Viewer™ allows physicians to retrieve and view all images from any computer anywhere-not just on site. Unlike the previous setup, the 2D/3D Web viewer delivers the high level of quality required by physicians.

“The new CD/DVD burner has a built-in viewer, making it easy to open priors that come in on CD. We can also turn around and burn patient images to CD/DVD for patients to take to referring physicians, and those CDs come with a viewer to eliminate viewing problems on the receiving end,” said LaGrone.

Off-site Archive and Disaster Recovery. Prior to 7 Medical, Starkville Orthopedic did not have a backup and disaster recovery solution in place for its PACS system. Images were stored on the old PACS server on site. If anything happened to that old PACS server, they would have lost all their patients images and exposed the clinic to unnecessary business risk and security violation.

The 7 Ortho-on-Demand PACS comes with built-in backup and disaster recovery and is included in the monthly service fee. A copy of all CR images is routed to 7 Medical’s secure data center off site, as well as to a secondary data center to ensure redundancy. All patient data and images are securely transported to meet HIPAA compliance, and are stored for the life of the contract.

Industry-leading Orthopedic Templating. With the new PACS project, Starkville Orthopedic wanted to add digital orthopedic templating functionality. 7 Medical facilitated the implementation and training of this through its partnership with OrthoView. The extensive library of digital templates supports joint replacement, trauma procedures, limb deformity correction and pediatric assessment. Templated images are conveniently saved and stored adjacent to the original images in a patient’s folder.

“The new digital orthopedic templating software automates surgical planning and templating, which saves us time in preparing for surgery, improves accuracy, and reduces trial and error,” said W. Todd Smith, M.D. at Starkville Orthopedic. “The planning wizard is user-friendly, and the scaling and contouring features provide advanced functionality not available to us previously.”

THE OUTCOME: PROBLEM SOLVED

“With 7 Medical, we were able to switch to a better PACS service while cutting costs. The service is very reliable, and we can trust and depend on the experience of the 7 Medical team. We no longer worry about storage because we can add capacity anytime. That will be extremely beneficial as our patient load grows,” said Farley.

LaGrone adds, “The PACS service runs like clockwork. Our physicians and staff really like the quality of the Web viewer and how easy it is to use-not to mention that they can access it from anywhere. The orthopedic templating software also makes surgical planning faster and easier. We are so pleased with the service.”

Starkville Orthopedic gained a full-service PACS solution that resulted in cost savings, improved workflows, scalable storage and disaster recovery protection it can rely on.

For more information on the 7 Ortho-on-Demand PACS solution, call 800.440.7119 or email info@7medical.com.

To view or download the full story, visit www.7medical.com/solutions/casestudies/starkville.html.

ABOUT 7 MEDICAL SYSTEMS, LLC

7 Medical Systems™, LLC (www.7medical.com) is a leading provider of on-demand PACS, teleradiology, EMR, disaster recovery and computing solutions for healthcare. The Minneapolis-based company delivers reliable, affordable solutions to critical access hospitals, imaging centers, radiology groups and ambulatory clinics. Rather than investing capital to own and manage hardware and software in-house, healthcare facilities outsource these critical functions to 7 Medical. They trade in hefty capital expenses for more affordable monthly usage fees—paying only for what they use. 7 Medical’s clinical project managers enable facilities to efficiently automate workflows and integrate disparate systems to ensure successful integration, implementation and training. On-demand services are available anytime, anywhere, with 24/7 service and support and built-in disaster recovery, from a Type II SAS 70 certified data center and HIPAA compliance.

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7 Medical Systems™, 7i Gateway™ and the 7 Medical Systems logo are trademarks of 7 Medical Systems, LLC. All other trademarks or trade names are the properties of their respective holders.

Media Contact

Loan D. Gordon
7 Medical Systems, LLC
612.230.7720
lgordon@7medical.com