On-demand PACS for Cost Reduction
Minidoka Memorial Hospital uses healthcare IT to upgrade systems and automate workflows without adding costs
MINNEAPOLIS—June 2, 2009—7 Medical Systems™, LLC, a leader in on-demand picture archiving and communication system (PACS), teleradiology and electronic medical record (EMR) solutions for healthcare, today announced the successful adoption of on-demand PACS at Minidoka Memorial Hospital.
Minidoka Memorial Hospital (MMH) is an independently-operated, 25-bed community hospital dedicated to serving the health and well being of the residents and visitors of the Mini-Cassia area in Idaho. The hospital offers healthcare services including surgery, obstetrics, inpatient and outpatient treatments, long-term care, home health, ambulance, and occupational health. A 59-bed long-term care facility is also connected to the hospital.
Located in the county seat of Rupert, Idaho, the hospital serves nearly 20,000 residents in the county, and nearly 40,000 in the greater Mini-Cassia area, which covers the counties of Minidoka and Cassia in the Magic Valley Region of Idaho. As one of the county’s largest employers, the hospital currently employs more than 250 people, and in 2008, recorded its best performance in history.
In 2008, MMH launched an initiative to switch from film to digital. Digital imaging required upgrading analog X-ray equipment to digital and purchasing a picture archiving and communication system (PACS). Cost was the biggest factor, then integration and ease of use. Fortunately, a grant covered the purchase of new equipment, but there was not enough left to cover the full cost of the PACS. Unless there was a financially feasible solution, their digital imaging initiative would be dead in the water.
“I was nervous about pulling the trigger because PACS was all new to us,” said Rae Jensen, radiology director of MMH. “We never thought we could afford it, and we were so used to doing everything manually, pushing paper and storing films. It was going to be a big change for us, and not all of us were tech savvy.”
THE SOLUTION: Right Business Model, Right Now
7 Medical’s on-demand PACS service lifted the budget constraint because it did not add cost, making it possible for MMH to implement PACS alongside two new Konica computed radiography (CR) units. MMH was also able to integrate to the existing Healthland, formerly Dairyland, health information system (HIS), further automating orders and radiology workflow and increasing efficiency.
“We were used to having to buy everything and to implement it between radiology and IT,” said Jensen. “It was clear 7 Medical’s on-demand model was a different way of thinking-no huge capital investment. The low monthly fee made the PACS service affordable. We no longer worry about maintenance and upgrade fees in future years. It was invaluable having people who knew what they were doing right there with us every step of the way, including integrating with our HIS provider.”
With 7 Medical, healthcare facilities purchase PACS as a service, similar to how consumers buy Internet or cable TV services at home. As a turnkey PACS service, 7 Medical provides everything including hardware, software, integration, service and ongoing support for the PACS-no upfront or ongoing capital expenses involved for hardware or software. Instead, MMH pays an affordable monthly fee to use the PACS service, while retaining ownership of all of their data.
7 Medical’s solution includes a PACS clinical project manager to manage every step of the process, from workflow and project planning to installation, integration and testing-not to mention training on how to use the PACS system for physicians and staff. The on-demand PACS service is backed by 24/7 service and support, so 7 Medical’s clinical and IT staff are on call to respond around the clock.
MAKE YOUR BUDGET, DON’T BREAK IT
For MMH, budget was the gating factor. “With 7 Medical’s solution, it wasn’t a budget decision at all,” said Jensen. “In fact, it was a no-brainer. We wanted to go digital and we were able to do it without adding cost. The 7 Medical model is exactly what we needed, and just what the industry needs to make PACS available to all.”
MMH has been filmless since September 2008. The 7 Medical on-demand PACS supports six modalities, including two CRs, CT, ultrasound, nuclear medicine and mobile MRI. More than 50 physicians, nurses, referring physicians and staff are currently using the system and the Web viewer to view patient images online. “Referring physicians particularly like the convenience of viewing reports alongside the images in the viewer,” said Jensen. “That was a big win for us with physicians located remotely around the area.”
“The PACS made a huge difference in improving our workflows,” said Jensen. “Modality worklist integration saves us from having to re-enter patient and order information, so everything is more efficient, and there are less errors resulting from manual data entry from multiple sources. The PACS routes images electronically to onsite or offsite radiologists, and turnaround times are so much faster because of it. And patients really like having their own images available to them on CDs.”
In addition to cost savings, improved workflows, and automatic maintenance and upgrades, MMH benefits from built-in backup and disaster recovery protection-not to mention regulatory and HIPAA compliance. A copy of all patient images is archived in 7 Medical’s offsite data center and can be quickly and easily recovered. In the event of a natural disaster or emergency, that gives MMH, and its patients, peace of mind. “The other added insurance is 7 Medical,” said Jensen. “Besides being there to walk us through ever step, they were there to train us, and they’re only a call away anytime we need them. They are very responsive and go above and beyond. You can’t put a price on that level of service.”
To view or download the full story, visit www.7medical.com/solutions/casestudies/minidoka.html.
ABOUT 7 MEDICAL SYSTEMS, LLC
7 Medical Systems™, LLC (www.7medical.com) is a leading provider of cloud-based digital imaging, electronic medical records and revenue cycle management solutions for healthcare. The company delivers reliable, affordable cloud computing-based 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 and HIPAA-compliant data center. 7 Medical is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and has a wholly-owned subsidiary in Florianopolis, Brazil.
Loan D. Gordon
7 Medical Systems, LLC