Doctor viewing images with a computer

Progress in Enterprise Imaging

I always say that I would love for the need of the enterprise imaging report to go away. That would mean that both providers and vendors are in a good spot and patients have easy access to all their images. But right now, we realize that enterprise imaging is still in its infancy.

When KLAS started to measure the market, there was a period of time where providers would talk about starting their journey and thought that they would see progress in one or two years. But when we would talk again, they would tell us that not a lot was changing or progressing. That being said, it’s very important to note that KLAS has definitely seen progress in what providers are reporting as seen in this most recent Enterprise Imaging 2019 report.

The Right Direction

I am so happy that this report shows that a full two-thirds of providers are seeing progress. To be clear, seeing progress does not mean that the work is finished. There are no providers I can think of that tell us that they are 100% good to go, though some have said that they can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Pie chart of the status of enterprise imaging

In this chart, we address the progress providers are reporting.  You can see that another 12% have achieved stability and that some have stalled in their enterprise imaging strategy. From what we learned, the strategy has not necessarily stalled because of the vendor; rather, it’s a combined effect of the money, resources, and in some cases there are changes with the vendor. It is also good to see vendors and providers working more in sync than they were in the past. There are obviously stronger areas, weaker areas, and places for improvement, but seeing the progress makes me proud of the combined work going on in the industry.

The outcomes that organizations are starting to see are fantastic because so much effort has gone into enterprise systems. These are not a cheap solutions to invest in and it takes a lot of team work. It’s also highly resource intensive; organizations need IT resources, physician buy-in, clinical resources, and there is also the data migration piece to consider. Our report gives more specifics, but these outcomes should give us all hope things are moving in the right direction.

Other Topics Related to Enterprise Imaging

AI in imaging came up frequently as we talked with providers for this report. Though it is not the focus of this report, we all know that AI is coming to imaging. The big concern right now is around getting the necessary data clean and centralized into one place. Providers are aware that they can’t run a race if they don’t know how to walk or even crawl yet, but providers are also really positive and recognize this need for AI and they see progress.

Patient care is another big topic. Many providers told me that their patients are very mobile and are making healthcare decisions differently than they were in the past. It is necessary for healthcare to expand even more to accommodate patients that need access to their medical records in multiple locations. That is going to take a centralized place for their data, and one other exciting development we’re seeing is that patients are engaging and access their images through portals from different EMR vendors. Providers are excited about this, and I think that helps demonstrate why enterprise imaging is important for organizations now.

Room for Improvement

When all is said and done, there’s still room for improvement and growth in enterprise imaging. Each of the vendors have their pros and cons, but almost everyone seems to be moving forward and working on a stronger strategy. KLAS might be pushing and providers might be pulling, but the great thing to see is that the vendors are already in the race themselves. Most vendors are not just sitting on the bench; vendors are engaging and investing in enterprise imaging.

The technology is advancing, and there is increasing awareness around enterprise imaging. Internally, providers are getting their processes in place. We now have organizations to point to that have led the way; more people know how to approach enterprise imaging now. Even more encouraging is that we are still seeing a large amount of decisions taking place in this space.

This momentum that we are seeing is just going to help current progress move even faster. I love the positive energy I’m seeing from providers around this report. To see the story behind individual vendors, I recommend taking a look at the full report.





     Photo credit: Adobe Stock, Teeradej