Hospital managers want to be sure that hospital staff constantly improve their skills and share relevant information with their colleagues. Automated solutions cannot become a substitute for a discussion where healthcare professionals can exchange their knowledge and share their ideas, but routine tasks can be arranged in the form of a workflow portal.
Usage of such a portal has a number of advantages:
It will help employees to save their time;
It will enable hospital managers to assign different access privileges to users, thus restricting access to medical data;
The portal can automatically create and send out reports like the ones covering employee performance.
This portal can be used to create its own medical knowledge base for the hospital.
A hospital is a place where like-minded people work and spend much time together. Not to lag behind other healthcare professionals, hospital staff must keep abreast of the latest trends and developments in medicine. However, being extremely busy during their working hours, the personnel has not time to discuss medical trends and developments on the fly: according to the National Center for Health Statistics the mean wait time in U.S. emergency departments increased 25 percent, from 46.5 minutes to 58.1 minutes from 2003 through 2009.
A hospital communication portal seems to be the right choice in this case. However, it should be noted that developers of custom hospital software and such portals in particular must pay close attention to the specifics a medical organization has.
The portal will enable the personnel to share valuable medical information, such as aspects of people, companies, news and other things of interest in a convenient, efficient, and fast way. Besides, it is important to give users an ability to comment.
Users would have their own profiles enabling them to connect directly with each other. The profiles could also include basic information on departments where users work, room numbers, working hours, specializations, and more.
Capabilities of the portal could be extended further by adding elements of social networks by making it possible for users to upload videos and images, tagging other users to them, etc. A general chat or forum could also be launched. All in all, the portal could become an important part of the HRM reporting system and assist hospital managers in managing sources and personnel.
Such a portal has the potential to become much more than a communication tool. It could become an effective hospital automation tool:
The DICOM format has appeared more than 20 years ago. Since then a number of technological advancements have taken place resulting in better resolution in such files and an increase in volume of data. New technologies made it possible not only to get just an ordinary photo, but an animated image. Such new options had direct impact on a size of data being processed by DICOM Viewers.
In the meantime, many hospitals continue to use DICOM viewers that were created many years ago. These viewers work slower than latest solutions and lack many useful functions. Besides, they cannot master a growing volume of data. But hospital staff are reluctant to stop using outdated solutions, and there are some reasons for such attitude:
health professionals are sure that solutions they have been using for years are reliable;
there is no need to train the staff, so no extra expenses are involved;
a software update, as a rule, goes hand in hand with a hardware update, thus leading to new expenses.
Consequently, hospitals have to solve the dilemma; they have latest diagnostic equipment that undergoes regular updates, while their software is too old to work with large volumes of data.
Exploring the Paradox
Health professionals do not participate in development of software they make use of. Being user expertise bearers since they deal each day with images, make diagnosis and conduct researches, diagnosticians barely have relation to the development of software they use.
To keep up with latest developments in the field of diagnosis, healthcare facilities have to look for opportunities to make improvements in the diagnostic software, and in DICOM viewers, in particular.
DICOM viewers’ development prospects
There are a number of lucrative directions that DICOM viewers’ developers should bear in mind.
Collaboration plays a crucial role in making a diagnosis. Diagnosticians often consult each other if they have some doubts or if there is a need to get access to a medical history of a patient.
DICOM viewers could become a solution by providing its users with remote access to images. Besides, they could become a tool for an online discussion (where participants could use different graphic tools to review images).
Import of images from different sources (e.g. from one hospital with its own requirements to file formats to another) and their displaying according to requirements and standards of each health facility.
A built-in set of instruments can be extended by improving their functions by giving DICOM viewers’ users to ability to utilize an advanced review, create annotations and notes, measure angles, circles, add annotations, etc.
DICOM viewers could automatically compile medical assessment reports on the basis of available annotations, with hyperlinks to particular images and image areas.
DICOM viewers could also be used in workflow managing by forwarding processed images to other experts for additional research.
Three dimensional modelling is one more promising direction for DICOM viewers, and auto adjustment of images by improving their quality by using latest algorithms for dealing with pixel images seems to be a solution in this case.
Difficulties Developers of Healthcare Software and Health Facilities Face
Quality and accuracy of healthcare software’s work must be very high, and there must be no room for mistakes in order to eliminate a possibility of a medical error. This makes testing a very important part of the development process, and it accounts from 40 percent to 60 percent of the total development time.