Inland Imaging LLC, of Spokane, says it has expanded the reach of its digital X-ray database into rural and metropolitan areas around the region, including Seattle and Portland, and as far away as Phoenix.
The imaging company has been building a consortium of providers, including competitors, to create a central archive of patient imaging studies that hospitals and doctors around the region can access via a secure Internet connection.
The consortium now includes about 20 providers, ranging from orthopedic specialists who do their own imaging to hospital radiology departments, says Jon Copeland, CEO of Inland Imaging's administrative division. The database, called a picture archive communication system (PACS), now has more than 1.4 million archived imaging exams annually.
Over the past year, Inland Imaging has added 10 medical facilities to the system, including Seattle Children's Hospital; Providence St. Mary Medical Center and Walla Walla General Hospital in Walla Walla, Wash.; Kadlec Medical Center, in Richland, Wash.; Central Washington Hospital, in Ellensburg, Wash.; Benifis Health System, in Great Falls, Mont.; and Kalispell Regional Medical Center, in Kalispell, Mont., says Mike Lent, Inland Imaging's PACS manager.
It also has added to its archive images the cardiac studies from facilities such as Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center & Children's Hospital, Providence Holy Family Hospital, Kootenai Medical Center, and the Polyclinic, of Seattle, Lent says. Those hospitals previously were part of the system, but hadn't been sending their cardiac studies to the database.
"There's been a whole tectonic change in radiology as digitization has become stabilized over the last few years," says Steve Duvoisin, the company's CEO.
The providers sign cooperative agreements with Inland Imaging and upload their images to the archive, which Inland Imaging then makes available to others.
The system enables doctors to share information about patient exams quickly and to consult with one another by telephone while both are viewing the same images on a computer screen, he says. Some of the consortium's members are hospitals in such rural communities as Chewelah, Colville, Pullman, Ritzville, and Davenport, he says.
"The impact on patient care is phenomenal," Copeland says. "We can treat them better. It's much less fragmented."
He says, "If a patient in Colville has a stroke, we can have images here in a couple of minutes. They can decide whether to send a patient to Spokane, and if they do, everyone has instant access to that exam." In such situations, doctors at the receiving hospital have the information they need to treat a patient before the patient arrives, improving care, he says.
Subscribe today to our free E-Newsletters!SUBSCRIBE