In recent years, the demand for MRI scans skyrocketed with a 10% growth per year. Over 90% of all the medical data in the world consists of medical images.
Medical imaging solutions are becoming increasingly popular, but there’s one worrying problem – there are not enough radiologists out there…
The Royal College of Radiologists stated in their 2018 census report that the existing radiologist shortage in the UK will almost double in 5 years between 2018 and 2023. So, why is this the case?
Because analyzing patients’ images takes a lot of time. With the growing demand for radiologists’ services and slower employment growth, the shortage is growing.
The good news is that medical Imaging software can help us keep up with the demand by streamlining all the medical imaging processes and increasing the efficiency of radiology operations.
Curious to learn how medical imaging software can save the day? Read on!
What is Medical Imaging Software?
Medical imaging software is one of the most popular medical software types.
The medical imaging software provides a convenient way to store, analyze, and transfer patient data securely across different departments in the same organization. Apart from that, the AI capabilities of such programs can help medical professionals identify any potential problems their patients have automatically.
There are 3 major types of medical imaging software:
- DICOM Viewers & Processors: Image processing software enables healthcare professionals to view and edit DICOM images with ease.
- PACS: Picture Archiving and Communication Systems help medical professionals store patient data securely, transfer it between departments/providers efficiently, and track patients’ recovery progress chronologically
- RIS: Radiology Information Systems provide for automated scheduling workflows and enhanced reporting capabilities (charts, stats on department performance).
Now that you have a better idea of what to expect from medical imaging software, let’s take a look at the major benefits that they bring to the table.
Top 7+ Benefits of Medical Imaging Software
Medical imaging software helps radiologists solve an array of medical ìndustry challenges, and shapes the future of telehealth. It helps both to organize and interpret the data in a number of ways:
1. Catching up with the Growing Demand for Medical Images
Medical imaging software allows radiology professionals to:
- Access patient data quickly and securely
- Use built-in AI algorithms present in some medical imaging solutions to identify any possible deviations from the norm.
- Automate scheduling/follow-up workflows
These three factors help radiologists to process each image much faster, which allows them to increase patient traffic drastically.
2. Scalability & Operating Efficiency
Traditionally, medical images for each patient were stored manually in hospital libraries.
This manual storage of data posed two major problems:
- Once medical records piled up, they became increasingly hard to store and manage, which poses a scalability problem.
- Records always had to be passed along manually, which took time. Moreover, physical handling meant that they were at risk of being mishandled.
On another hand, RIS solutions streamline the process of data storage, making sure that the data is being passed along securely and swiftly.
3. Ease of Access to Patients’ Data
Medical imaging software is set up in a way that allows both patients and doctors to access data conveniently at any moment. Before medical imaging software was a thing, people needed to physically visit hospitals to get their data, wait in line for doctors, and only then get the insights face-to-face.
Nowadays, things are much simpler- all you have to do is log into the back office, retrieve your records and read your doctor’s notes with annotations.
4. Secure Storage of Information
The ease of access to a patient’s data would mean nothing if it was not secure. Most modern medical imaging solutions are HIPAA compliant.
- Any HIPAA-compliant solution MUST satisfy the following requirements:
- It has measures to prevent information theft (HTTPS certificates, Firewalls, etc.)
- Ensures confidentiality in exchange of data and has restricted access to authorized personnel only
- Protects against any attempted data disclosures
- HIPAA guidelines must be followed by the entirety of the workforce
Generally speaking, HIPAA compliance means that the application is secure, and safe to use – think of it as a standard of quality for data safety in the industry.
5. Easy to Track Treatment Process
Most medical imaging software databases store data/images of each client chronologically. This means that as the client progresses through the treatment, his radiologists can easily pull the data/images from patients’ past and compare the different states of the client’s treatment.
Some programs even provide predictive image analysis tools that compare the data between two different states automatically and draw actionable insights.
6. Increased Usage of AI to Automate Image Analysis
The usage of AI in medical imaging is one of the most well-researched and well-invested areas of the medical sector. In the past years, numerous advancements have been made to implement AI into medical imaging. All sorts of medical images can now be automatically interpreted by machines: X-ray, ultrasound, computerized tomography (CT), MRI, fMRI… The possibilities for automation are endless!
7. Enabling Non-Radiology Medical Professionals to Interpret the Image Data on Their Own
One of the things that slow down the image processing workflow is that other physicians cannot interpret the data without the help of a radiologist. With the advent of AI and predictive image analysis, it became easier for medical practitioners to draw insights, interpret the data, and provide actionable conclusions to the patient without the direct intervention of a radiologist. The AI does the heavy lifting of analyzing the data.
So, Why Do You Need Custom Medical Imaging Software?
There are plenty of one-size-fits-all medical imaging solutions out there. For instance, Ambra Health is a Cloud platform, that allows you to fully automate your scheduling processes, and provides the ability to view images, leave insightful notes, and transfer the data securely from anywhere in the world. They also have a mobile app and IoT solutions for medical professionals.
So, if solutions like Ambra are so great, why would anyone want a custom medical imaging solution if there are great SaaS options available?
Because one size never fits all: If you truly want to automate your workflows and achieve the maximal efficiency, you might want to invest into a custom medical imaging solution that will fit YOUR needs perfectly.
Therefore, SaaS medical imaging software is great for businesses with a small budget. However, in the long term, custom medical solutions will always pay off better.
As we have seen above, the demand for radiology services will likely increase in the following years. Medical imaging software will help radiology professionals worldwide to optimize their workflows and provides for maximum efficiency to tackle this trend in several ways:
- Automated Scheduling Process
- Automated Image Analytics
- Ease/Speed of File Access
- Higher Security
- Availability of Information
- Improved Organization of Data
If your organization still has not implemented a medical imaging software solution, we recommend you to partner with a custom radiology software developer or look at some existing SaaS solution (but only if your budget is limited). If you want to maximize your efficiency – opt-out for custom medical imaging software.