Houston Medical Imaging Joins Healthconnect to Minimize Radiation

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Radiologists move to reduce the duplication of imaging studies by providing electronic access to historical images and reports through the regional HIE.

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Making patient information available to providers when it’s needed, in a safe, secure, and compliant way, is a step in the right direction for transforming healthcare.

Greater Houston Healthconnect (HEALTHCONNECT) announced that Houston Medical Imaging has become the first medical imaging provider in the Greater Houston area to make diagnostic images easily accessible to community physicians through the community health portal. The inclusion of medical images in the network provides a new opportunity to reduce duplicate diagnostic testing by making results available to any provider authorized by the patient to view those records. That could have a significant impact on clinical decision making compared to when a physician might not know whether, when, or where a test has been conducted.

By viewing Healthconnect’s community health portal, physicians can easily ascertain what kinds of tests have been performed and the results of those tests ordered by other participating providers in the network. Access to this information can help reduce the number of scans a patient undergoes, thereby minimizing exposure to radiation. According to the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, there was a seven fold increase in exposure to ionizing radiation from medical procedures from 1980 to 2006.

With growing national attention given to rising healthcare expenditures, providers are also looking for ways to keep a lid on costs. Dr. Randall Stenoien, CEO of Houston Medical Imaging, reflected on the dual advantage of enhanced patient safety and reduced costs, “By participating in the Healthconnect network we are providing patients an opportunity to avoid exposure to additional ionizing radiation if the appropriate test has already been performed within a reasonable timeframe. It will also help our patients to manage out of pocket expenses for repeated tests that might not be reimbursed by their insurance companies.”

Healthconnect is the regional health information exchange for the 20 county region of Southeast Texas surrounding Houston, Galveston and the Golden Triangle. The HIE’s network is growing rapidly and includes major health systems and physician networks that account for 29% of the area’s total discharges. Healthconnect is moving quickly to integrate various points of care within the healthcare spectrum for a robust exchange of patient information. Umesh Verma, Healthconnect board member and CEO of Blue Lance, Inc. explained, “Our community now has a platform for innovation and collaboration across healthcare institutions. Making patient information available to providers when it’s needed, in a safe, secure, and compliant way, is a step in the right direction for transforming healthcare.” Healthconnect is the first community HIE in Texas to include diagnostic images in the exchange.

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Robin Mansur
Greater Houston Healthconnect
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