Echocardiography in the cloud.

George Ruiz. MD

MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute locations in the Baltimore and Washington regions are employing transformative systems to house all patient echocardiogram data in a secure, easily accessible, digital repository. Regardless of where a patient sees a physician or undergoes a test, those results will be available to MedStar Health clinicians anywhere in their respective regions.

Sites in the Baltimore region are using syngo®, developed by Siemens, while the Washington region will adopt Philips’ IntelliSpace Cardiovascular (ISCV) system. To users and patients, both systems offer similar capabilities. The technology enhances real-time collaboration among cardiovascular specialists, allowing clinicians to view results anywhere in the region, regardless of where the test was done. Patients receive the benefit of quicker turnaround times, flexible testing locations, and fewer test duplications.

Allen Taylor, MD

“The key is portability,” explains Allen Taylor, MD, chairman of Cardiology at MedStar Washington Hospital Center and MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, and leader of implementation in the Washington region. “The systems allow data to ‘travel’ with patients across offices, hospitals, care units, and physician teams. That improves our overall efficiency, which improves the quality of care and service we deliver to patients.”

ISCV is heavily built around augmented intelligence with significant amounts of automation for quality and efficiency including common standards.

George Ruiz, MD, chief of Cardiology at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital and MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital, together with Cheryl Lunnen, vice-president of the Institute in the Baltimore region, and Brad Chambers, president at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital and MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, and senior vice president, MedStar Health, have spearheaded this vision in the Baltimore region.

“Syngo empowers our people with the right technology. It opens up the region for our patients and offers better flow of information for clinicians,” says Dr. Ruiz.

More ‘systemness’ throughout the system.

With a growing network of MedStar Health outpatient sites, the need for integration, quality, and standardization is paramount. The databases provide the free flow of information, placing studies and images in the hands of the most experienced readers, wherever they may be located.

“Our hospitals rely on expedited reports to care for patients,” notes Dr. Ruiz. “The database lets us be much more responsive.”

Proactive care for each patient.

The systems offer cutting-edge interpretive software that ensures more timely and reliable interpretation of data related to each patient’s cardiac history. For example, as a patient’s heart function tests are recorded, an automatic system scan of all data elements will immediately alert physicians to inconsistencies that require attention.

“That lets us be more proactive in our care, rather than allowing a condition to potentially worsen before the physician has a chance to collect and review the data on his or her own,” Dr. Taylor says.

And, of course, the patient experiences the result of prompter, more convenient care. With faster turnaround times and flexibility of location, the patient experiences a seamless process and a reduction in unnecessary, duplicate tests, as well as the need to search multiple database systems to patient information.

Looking ahead.

The benefits of a digital repository extends beyond patient care. Clinicians will be able to query the database to support public health initiatives. The programs have the ability to generate reports that provide “big data” such as diagnostic patterns or highlight locations with particularly high volumes.

“Beyond the new efficiencies, we now have insight into population health data and can potentially uncover new areas of patient need,” says Dr. Ruiz. “It’s changing the way we think about things.”