"Optimizing processes by combining medical technology and IT" - this is currently one of the major topics for German hospitals. VISUS considers the coalescence of IT and medical technology an essential key to optimizing processes in the hospital. The strategic refinement of the JiveX Enterprise PACS is oriented towards this tendency.
Bringing medical technology and IT together, however, involves requirements for the technical departments in the hospitals. Until now, the situation is dominated by a classic chaos of interfaces. Interoperability needs to be safeguarded through open standards. They are a necessary prerequisite for vendor-independent networks, and for a reduction in investment as well as material costs. These matters are of strategic relevance, and they are therefore definitely part of the agenda of decision makers in hospitals.
DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine), the international standard for image distribution, is of key importance in this respect. It provides the platform for smooth transfer of image and video data, of bio signals as well as documents, and therefore assumes a key role in the consolidation of medical technology and IT. It serves to safeguard the data transfer between modalities and IT, structured reporting, documentation and archiving, management of work processes, as well as quality assurance and consistency.
VISUS will play a major role in advancing these developments, building on more than ten years of experience in working with DICOM. The company, based in Bochum/Germany, is a founding member of the Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) Initiative in Germany, and has carried out various projects for the DICOM Committee. VISUS is a solution provider for all aspects of image management in the medical field, and defines its core competencies in the areas of DICOM standardization and Internet technologies.
Currently, software defines more and more of the functionality of medical products which are integrated, to an increasing extent, into communication networks and information systems. This is at the root of the creation of a campus-wide information hub which integrates medical technology and IT. Through this process, caregivers profit from improved transparency and quality. In addition, efficiency and cost-effectiveness can be improved, and capital as well as material costs can be reduced.
There are concrete benefits for physicians and patients, too: apart from audit-proof documentation and archiving, seamless integration supports shared work processes as well as direct distribution of information. In the end, therapy and nursing profit from this; all the information is available at any time, and can be taken to the patient bed by use of mobile solutions.
Information technology is also influencing, to an increasing extent, the work done in the administration department. Therefore, hospital managers need to ask themselves how they should best incorporate IT into the organization in order to meet the novel challenges. This includes acceptance of a consistent IT strategy for the entire organization. That process may well lead to increased relevance of the position of a Chief Information Officer (CIO) with responsibilities at management level.
Requirements to be met by the IT department are also on the rise, however. It needs to generate know-how for medical products, implement risk and change management, and safeguard availability of relevant systems. IT has to reconsider its role, to an increasing extent, in the context of the Medical Device Directive. Not every medical product is necessarily assigned to the medical technology department.