By Aine Cryts

Healthcare organizations have access to a wealth of data. The challenge for healthcare leaders is figuring out how to turn that data into an asset, which can be used for diagnostic discoveries, says Morris Panner, CEO at New York-based Ambra Health, a medical data and image management cloud software company.

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Morris Panner

While medical imaging is acknowledged as a critical part of the patient health record and the workflow for clinical trials, medical imaging has traditionally been stored and sent on CDs, he says. This method of storing medical images adds delays and complexity, since the imaging must be requested from the healthcare organization where the imaging was captured. In addition, there’s the wait for the images to arrive at the clinical trial site or the need to search for images using a local PACS.

This is an error-prone process, which often requires patient data-matching to be done on a manual basis. Panner says that the need to create customized reports, match data with parent studies, and the use of post-processing systems makes working with medical imaging on CDs even more cumbersome.

Fixing Problems for Clinical Trial Investigators

According to Panner, there are three challenges Ambra Health tackles for clinical trial investigators and academic medical centers. These include improving access to imaging, creating a customized data-matching workflow, and securely anonymizing data.

“Centrally managed and automated workflows enable studies to be routed to end-destinations including local file directories, research repositories, and third-party viewers or post-processing systems,” he says. This workflow also allows incoming studies to be shared with other organizations and locations on an automated basis; specifically, configurable workflows can allow studies to be shared with clinical trial investigators and quality assurance personnel.

Several leading academic centers, such as the Mayo Clinic; University of California, San Diego; Boston Children’s Hospital; and Greater Cincinnati’s Academic Health System use Ambra Health Cloud PACS, Panner reveals.

Supporting the Needs of Clinical Trial Investigators

Consider this: A large clinical trial has been underway at one of Ambra Health’s customers. The healthcare organization was assessing how to conserve the patient identification information associated with approximately 4,000 patients from a decades-long parent study.

Ambra Health was charged with creating a custom workflow to conserve patient health information associated with imaging from the parent study. In addition, the company anonymized all the imaging data for CTs, MRs, CTAs, and MRAs that arrived from numerous regional hospitals; collected the radiological data generated by the radiologists who viewed the images; and exported radiological data, along with the clinical data, as specified by the parent study’s statisticians.

The end result was a workflow that allowed integration from multiple sites; in addition, imaging was made available for central interpretation.

Moreover, the Ambra Health DICOM Web Viewer was also customized to meet the needs of neuroradiologists reviewing the studies. Today, study upload and anonymization time has been sped up to three to five minutes from the days or weeks it once took to receive imaging on CDs, maintains Panner.

Aine Cryts is a contributing writer at AXIS Imaging News. Questions and comments can be directed to chief editor Keri Forsythe-Stephens at kstephens@medqor.com.