Tag: technology

When I purchased my first personal computer, the only way to obtain software was to drive to a big box store and pick it up, like a bag of chips. But unlike a bag of chips, the package wasn’t immediately useful.  Instead, you had to make sure it would run on your machine first and then install it — sometimes, the install wouldn’t work.  

This painful method of distributing software via physical media was frustrating for software producers and users.  

As internet connections improved, new avenues of software distribution became available.  

Soon we could download and update the software. Before long, the software was handling this for us. Software companies also began offering solutions that didn’t need to be installed, only accessed. 

“Cloud” or Software as a Service (SaaS) applications offer significant advantages for consumers. These consumer benefits are amplified in enterprise software, which costs more and requires more expertise and infrastructure to run. 

Three major benefits of cloud healthcare technology 

Safer data and secure browser delivery  

Delivery of the application via a browser, which is nearly universally available by default on all computers, means nothing must be installed to begin getting value from the software. It reduces the need for powerful local machines and prevents any potential loss of data.  

Lower costs and reduced system complexity 

Before cloud technology, enterprises had no choice but to build out large data centers and find, hire, and retain experts for costly servers, networking, databases, and security. Teams were asked to run and manage many critical business systems without being experts in those systems.  

Cloud-based solutions offload this complexity and enable enterprises to focus on utilizing their solution. Each cloud solution adopted reduces the number of systems that overloaded IT teams need to support. 

Quicker delivery and rapid feature updates  

Cloud providers can react to customer feedback at a pace no solution delivered in another fashion can match. All great companies listen to their customers and incorporate their feedback, but every software producer is constrained by the pace their customer base can receive updates. 

For example, if it takes a customer a month to roll out a minor update, and two to six months for a major update, how many updates can a software producer realistically expect a customer to take in a year? One? One every other year? If each customer needs to engage their IT team, spin up a project, get resources assigned, and execute the upgrade, those might even be conservative estimates.  

Ultimately, the fundamental promise of cloud products is to enable customers to toggle on and configure new features as they become available, allowing customers and software companies to engage in a much tighter feedback loop. 

Given that cloud solutions can reduce implementation time and complexity while enabling a tighter product feedback loop, it is no wonder why there has been a strong movement to adopt cloud technologies across all industries.

In healthcare specifically, the benefits of cloud technology will continue to help increase efficiency and quality of care while lowering IT burdens as more organizations migrate to cloud technologies.   

To learn more about the benefits of cloud healthcare technology solutions for your organization, schedule a demo. 

Nasrin brings over 15 years of hands-on experience to AS Software, and as the new Director of Clinical Ultrasound Solutions she will provide valuable technical and clinical guidance to customers and team members. In addition to leading AS Software’s first Customer Innovation Group that will help directly influence the product roadmap and innovation, Nasrin will also work with individual customers looking for solution workflow optimization and best practices. 

Get to know Nasrin better through her spotlight interview below and make sure to connect with her on LinkedIn! 

You’ve been in the ultrasound field for over 15 years! Why did you choose ultrasound and how did you get started? 

“Ultrasound chose me. My background was in Computer Science, and I worked for five years as an Application Specialist. I knew I was interested in healthcare but was unsure of which direction to go. My journey began when I was fortunate enough to find a position at a hospital in the suburbs of Chicago. I had the opportunity to shadow a sonographer and from then on, I knew it was my calling!” 

You’ve spent much of your career at Texas Children’s Hospital.  Tell us about your journey there. 

“I started at Texas Children’s as an MFM sonographer. The department was brand new, and as it grew, I was able to take on more responsibility. Because I was well-versed in technology, I would ask a lot of questions about our technical capabilities. That’s when I started to grow into the leader that I am today. I went from an MFM sonographer to the Assistant Director of the MFM department, managing eight clinical sites.” 

You helped evaluate ultrasound reporting systems for the team at Texas Children’s, what was that process like? 

“The system we were using wasn’t cutting it for how busy we were. The options were to upgrade the current system or go with something different. We decided to see what was out there and ask the sonographers and physicians what was most important for them.  After assessing three different reporting systems, the demo from AS was everything we were looking for.” 

What was it you were looking for in an ultrasound reporting system? 

“It needed to be reliable and easy to use for sonographers and physicians. The physicians wanted to create high-quality, easy-to-read reports that looked great to referring physicians. The goal was also to eliminate documenting in multiple EMR systems. Overall, AS answered the wants and needs of the department.” 

“It made a huge difference for us, and over the years I continued to be more impressed with the team at AS and establish wonderful relationships.” 

Now you’re going to work closely with Texas Children’s here at AS Software! Tell us about your career transition. 

“Texas Children’s was my home for 12 years, and I’m excited to continue working closely with Dr. Wesley Lee and the team. I see the opportunity to advocate both for them and for all of AS Software’s current and prospective customers — sharing best practices and incorporating feedback from into the product roadmap.”  

“We’re at the point where patient care truly needs support. Clinicians need the best technology that helps them improve their workflows and deliver great patient care. I’m looking forward to tapping into the side of the clinicians to deliver the best product to them, giving them what they’re looking for and what’s important on a day-to-day basis.” 

And now tell us some fun things about yourself, any hobbies? 

“I have a huge family that I love spending time with. I also enjoy traveling, and in my spare time I enjoy sewing! It could be as simple as making a dress or changing the color of my curtains.” 

Welcome, Nasrin! We can’t wait for all the great things to come with you here at AS Software. 

The transformation of healthcare is creating many benefits for both patients and clinicians, including: 

  • Delivering quicker access to patient data 
  • Removing physical barriers to care and communication 
  • Empowering patients to take a more active role in their health 

Enhanced technology leads to the necessity for more expertise and new capabilities; for clinicians and IT teams it can feel like there is always another escalated strategy to implement, another manufacturing update, a new portable device or application to connect, another system to learn, and even more integrations to ensure. 

“The largest challenge the healthcare industry faces when it comes to adopting new technology is the initial error rate. Generally, new technological products require iteration before they’re sufficiently reliable. This iterative process can be painful, potentially resulting in inaccurate predictions and inappropriate recommendations.” (Forbes Technology Council

As new applications, digital tools, and Health Information Systems are innovated, disparate network structures and piecemeal solutions take a toll on user experiences and operational processes. 

Think of the slow, frustrating rise of the Electronic Health Record and the difficulties of interoperability that have had massive impacts on data sharing capabilities and patient and clinician experiences. Innovation is key, but how can administrations and IT professionals ensure they are filling in gaps as technology advances throughout healthcare?

While standardization is strategized and best practices become more widely understood and utilized, technical support resources have become one of the top gauges for reliable usage and adoption. 

Two of the main focuses in effective Health Information Technology are to ensure: 

Correct Usage: Clinicians are able to input and access all data accurately and timely, capturing patient records and reporting visit information. 

Proper Data Flow: Data is managed seamlessly through interconnected systems — transferred and stored securely in the right systems in the right format. 

Proper IT support is a major factor in achieving these goals. With access to reliable support from an experienced team: 

  • Clinicians are onboarded to technology and receive the proper training to feel confident in all features and tools. Any technical issues or questions are addressed in a helpful and timely manner by the support team. 
  • Systems are built to meet the unique interoperability requirements of the organization. All needed upgrades and incoming system integrations are securely developed and addressed by the support team.

When the daily stress of a clinician’s workflow is exacerbated by a potential bug or an error, do they know who to call? Do they have access to resources to fix the problem promptly? How much will it affect their daily productivity? What impact will it have on the quality of patient care they can provide? Or is that error something that would have been prevented with proper maintenance and upgrades? 

A professional, helpful support team alleviates these burdens and helps clinicians meet innovation with confidence.  

As Dr. Porter said in his success story, “medicine is changing all the time.” In order to adapt, It’s the responsibility of the healthcare organization to ensure that they are partnering with reliable organizations that provide technology support. 

To learn how we partner with customers to provide expert IT support from implementation to beyond, request a demo

Video Captions:

“In healthcare’s complex ultrasound environment, providing quality care requires efficient technology that communicates effectively.

But there are many disparate workflows to navigate and connect for accurate ultrasound documentation and diagnosis.

To make the most of your investments, and to bridge the gap between departments, existing technology, and unstructured data, you need:

  • Reporting customized for your specialty
  • To seamlessly integrate with your environment
  • And reliably exchange data and images

So your team can remain focused on patient care.

With ultrasound reporting and image management solutions from AS Software, you can:

  • Access ultrasound images and reports anywhere, anytime;
  • Reduce the time it takes to make confident decisions, faster, with fewer clicks
  • Deliver the information that referring physicians need in an easy to read, standardized format
  • And increase reimbursements while ensuring billing accuracy

Empower your healthcare team and accelerate diagnostic imaging workflows with AS Software.”

To learn more about Ultrasound Image and Report Technology suited for you, get a demo.

As medical imaging has advanced, a variety of electronic systems and their various technology-based components, such as image archiving systems, ultrasound machines, ultrasound reporting systems and billing systems, have evolved within ultrasound network architectures.  

Each of these components communicate through a variety of interfaces, typically created by different vendor companies with limited collaboration, who focus on their individual components rather than seamless network connectivity. 

“Because this customization requires institutional willingness and resources, most ultrasound networks do not seamlessly provide the clinical information necessary to improve clinical care efficiency and quality.” (SMFM) 

To help facilitate better collaboration, clinicians, maternal-fetal medicine sub-specialists and network vendors, including AS Software, were brought together by the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine Clinical Informatics Committee to establish best practices and a better understanding of obstetrical ultrasound network architectures, now published by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology in a special statement

Here is a summary of the best practices collaboratively provided for seamless prenatal ultrasound network connectivity: 

1. Use a generalized approach to order design for more clinical flexibility 

There are unique challenges to order design for prenatal ultrasounds due to the frequent need for mid-study adjustments in obstetrics.  

The two most common approaches are to use multiple individual procedure-based orders, or to use a few generalized orders with embedded procedural options. 

While each approach to order design has its limitations and may depend on unique workflows, the ideal approach is typically a generalized one. In this approach, a handful of high-level orders with procedural specificity selected within the body of each order are used. A conditional request can also be embedded based on the study results, and even extend to consultative services. 

This will give greater clinical flexibility, so clinicians can adjust as needed without requiring new orders. 

2. Establish a straightforward data standard to improve communication 

Although there have been standards for formats of communication, like HL7 and DICOM, the content and clinical format of obstetrical data hasn’t had a standard for how it’s transmitted across systems.  

Depending on the individual vendors and design of each component, there are many variations of how data transfer and format is customized through interfaces — leading to varying capacities and complicated translations of each data point that make it difficult for practitioners to effectively leverage data.  

By standardizing ultrasound data transfer and improving consistency, clinicians will have increased analytical capabilities and access to discrete obstetrical data, and communication will be improved between vendors.  This straightforward integration is also less costly for IT professionals. 

3. Optimize billing with search functionality and integrations 

ICD-10-CM and CPT are the standards for coding in ultrasound workflows, but clinics vary on how they send this information and some use paper order sets.  

All requested procedures, associated diagnoses, and indications are best sent via HL7 order entry message to an ultrasound reporting system (URS). The URS should have search functionality for CPT and ICD-10-CM codes, and automatically populate necessary sections of study reports. 

All billing and coding systems should also seamlessly integrate with health information systems; and study procedure and diagnosis codes should automatically populate for final review. 

As imaging technology continues to advance, so will the technology-based components supporting it. These best practices will help both providers and vendors ensure their network  and its interfaces are structured effectively for better communication and more standardized data transfers, relieving burdens placed on healthcare systems. 

To read more about best practices for ultrasound network connectivity, read the entire special statement in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology or download a PDF on the Society of Maternal-Fetal Medicine site. 

To help better understand your organization’s electronic systems and how they could communicate more effectively, schedule a consultation here