No two institutions will have the same path toward achieving EI goals. The components required, and the right order in which to migrate to new systems or integrate with existing systems in order to minimize disruption and maximize ROI, will vary widely from organization to organization, and from department to department.
Flexible, modular approaches to EI that can separate viewing and workflow functionality from the back-end storage considerations are best poised for future-proofed success. An EI solution that assumes customers will move to a standard set of components across the enterprise, all at once or on a prescribed schedule, will fail to achieve the promise of EI.
Instead, a standards-based EI Hub architecture with data aggregation and workflow orchestration capability is far more practical and financially feasible. It will allow applications, departments, and sites to be integrated quickly and easily, in a manner that makes sense for an individual organization and that avoids costly and disruptive downtime.
As consolidation and acquisition trends dominate the industry, the advantage of a modular approach to EI adoption cannot be overemphasized. Organizations should be able to integrate storage and/or standardize viewer technology over time, as user acceptance, institutional priorities, and budgets dictate.
Achieving rapid return on investment via cost savings and enhanced clinical value is an objective for any mission-critical technology installation; EI is no exception. Charting the right course toward this goal will be different for every institution, with radiology typically first due to its imaging importance and foundation of critical systems. Proceeding to specialties with similar image management needs and high revenue value (e.g. cardiology, obstetrics) is often the fastest path to maximizing ROI. A universal worklist with the ability to launch a range of viewers in context and access images and multimedia in a variety of repositories will streamline departmental onboarding and thus accelerate ROI.