Alabama and Michigan Hospitals to Innovate Medical Imaging Cloud

The Baptist System in Birmingham, Alabama and Henry Ford Health System in Detroit were chosen by AT&T to do the pilot testing on its new Medical Imaging and Information Management (MIIM) cloud service. This project will allow sharing of files like MRI and X-ray results between doctors using a special cloud platform. The MIIM project is expected to be launched by the third quarter of this year according to Randall Porter, assistant vice president for AT&T ForHealth.

The MIIM cloud service will be using the AT&T’s Web-based storage platform, Synaptic Storage as a Service. It also closed a partnership with Acuo Technology’s Universal Clinical Platform software to run the application and the EMC’s Atmos hardware to store its data.

Acuo’s application platform is flexible and vendor-neutral, which will allow doctors and radiologists to access X-ray and MRI results from several PACS (picture archive communications systems) according to Porter. Doctors can use and access the images using laptops, desktops as well as mobile devices. In the next few months the MIIM system is expected to have a rollout with iPhones and iPads.

“When you actually store an image in the system, you’re getting two copies of that image in two different data centers,” Porter clarified. “And so from a business-continuity standpoint, disaster recovery, as well as speed to access those images, it’s a very strong value proposition for these providers in making these images available in two different places.”

In November 2010 AT&T announced its health care product, ForHealth healthcare IT business, which MIIM is a part of and was formally announced last June 22.

AT&T reports said that with Baptist alone they gathered 2 million images; this came from their annual 350,000 generated images, which accounts to 30,000 images per month.

Baptist Health’s chief information officer, Richard Shirey, said, “We believe AT&T Medical Imaging and Information Management can help us provide improved management and access to our ongoing medical-imaging studies and long-term medical imaging as we expand access to patient medical images to our physician community.”

Baptist health will concentrate collecting images from radiology and cardiology, while Henry Ford announced that they will focus more on cardiology. At Ford, cardiologists will be allowed to view and access these images from different locations.

The MIIM is expected to cut down hospital costs; Kevin Yee, administrator for the Edith and Benson Ford Heart & Vascular Institute at Henry Ford said, “The model that AT&T offers will help us manage images while containing costs for our $4 billion integrated health system.”

According to Frost and Sullivan, by 2012 there will be billions of images stored for professional access. Porter said, “Images are getting out of control in terms of the number as well as the complexity.”

“Hospitals are looking for a cost-effective way to not only store them but also to manage that growth,” he added. “So they’re looking for a vendor- neutral cloud-based capability to help them curb costs as well as enable their physicians to access those images quicker from any device.”

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