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UC San Diego Hospital Uses Cloud for Trauma-Related File Transfer

A university hospital in Southern California has begun using cloud computing to receive imaging work from a remote hospital to expedite the treatment of trauma patients. The University of California San Diego Health System has adopted eMix, the Electronic Medical Information Exchange, to speed the diagnosis and treatment of patients sent to UC San Diego Medical Center-Hillcrest from El Centro Regional Medical Center, about 112 miles away. Imaging application provider DR Systems developed the cloud-based service.

Previously, the El Centro hospital would transfer radiology files by burning them to CD and sending them with the patient in the ambulance or air transport. This common process has problems. Sometimes media is lost in transit; other times, the media turns out not to be readable on the other end. In both cases, the patient would have to undergo re-imaging before treatment could begin.

Now the file transfers with eMix can take place before the patient has arrived at the trauma center, which allows that hospital to be better prepared to offer treatment immediately. To use eMix, the sender selects the files to be sent from a worklist of stored radiology files; he or she uploads this "package" of files to eMix and selects a recipient from a list of authorized users; the recipient receives e-mail notification from eMix, logs in, and clicks on the package link to preview images or download them. The service is only available to organizations that have National Provider Identifiers, a unique ID number for health care providers.

"We have used the process now with several trauma patients and it has been easy, fast, and completely dependable," said Susan Stout-Pierce, picture archival and communication systems/radiology information system administrator at the El Centro facility. "This is a clear example of information technology that improves patient care and increases patient safety."

Amy Radonich, assistant director of Imaging Services at UC San Diego Health System concurred. "The file sharing we've done with the cloud-based process has been trouble-free. Burning CDs and using VPNs are workaround solutions that are prone to problems. We're addressing those issues by using this Web-based form of technology."

"The efficiency and reliability of cloud computing is excellent," added Jeanne Lee, trauma surgeon at UC San Diego Health System and assistant clinical professor of surgery at the university's school of medicine.. "It is an advance in the way we exchange medical information between health care facilities. This benefits our trauma patients for diagnoses and treatment and cuts down on redundant imaging."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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