Lewis and Clark Trail

The Map to Enterprise Imaging Success

I’ve said before (and will probably say again) that the thing I love most about my job is the amazing people I get to interact with. I soak up opportunities to learn more from the experts that surround me.

Even after 20 years of measuring the industry, I am amazed at the people willing to share their time and expertise. At KLAS’ second annual enterprise imaging (EI) summit, I was surrounded by some of the greatest imaging experts in the world.

These experts came together with a singular goal: to create a road map for provider success with EI. Across the industry, EI is still young; while some providers are seeing success and actually reporting thrilling outcomes, most have no clear guidance on where to begin.

Providers face financial constraints and, as Dr. Christopher Roth of Duke Health described at the summit, the need to thoroughly justify organizational funding and resource allocation. With EI being of high interest for many organizations, how can providers navigate this new space successfully?

Recently I visited the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, which represents the gateway to the West in the US. Lewis and Clark began their famed expedition across the West near St. Louis in 1804. The map they started with is a far cry from the Google Maps app in my pocket that corrects my course when I miss a turn.

Map 1

Their task was to create a better map of the newly acquired territory from the Louisiana Purchase. President Thomas Jefferson wanted a practical route across the western half of the US. From their 2-year expedition, Lewis and Clark created the following map.

 Map 2

Now, I know my way around a campsite and can manage a compass, but I’d sure prefer this map to the earlier one if I had to trek from Missouri to Oregon.

In the well-known history of Lewis and Clark, they relied heavily on groups of native Americans and other trackers who helped them piece together their journey to the west coast. Similarly, providers looking to pioneer enterprise imaging must rely on and get buy-in from a large variety of groups. Traditionally, imaging strategy has been handled at the department level. This has left many organizations with deeply siloed EI plans. As we planned this year’s Cornerstone Summit around EI, the provider voice was clear: “Get the EMR vendors in the room.”

As EI leaves its well-mapped silos (radiology and cardiology) to venture out across the organization (dermatology, endoscopy, pathology, etc.), provider organizations must rely on the buy-in of those departments who use imaging in their care delivery. And when it comes to care delivery, the EMR will ultimately shoulder that load. EI without buy-in from EMR vendors and departments is like trying to cross the country with a poor map and no natives to help along the way.

With so many other needs in a healthcare organization (like integration, value-based care, population health, and cybersecurity), there isn’t a lot of room for figuring EI out as we go along.

At HIMSS this year, I spoke with a provider about enterprise imaging, and he said that when it comes to finding success, “I don’t know what I don’t know.” In his organization’s first attempt at sending out an RFP and whittling the many vendors down to a few options, they learned so much that they decided to start the process over again with a better map in hand. Providers need the help of their vendors and their peers who have been successful with EI.

We know there’s no single path to EI success, just like there’s more than one way to get from St Louis to the Pacific Ocean. But during our summit, providers and vendors collaborated to define the keys to success. As providers take their journey, following this overall road map can help them develop a customized strategy, avoid pitfalls, and effectively set up and manage enterprise imaging in their organization.

We’re excited to share the Enterprise Imaging white paper, created by many of the leading providers and vendors from across the globe, with providers and vendors alike. The participants at the summit boldly committed to use this road map to drive EI progress and provider success, and we encourage you to join them.