Sputtering EMR could be commonplace in five years

February 23, 2004

The shift to the electronic medical record, while perhaps inevitable, has yet to find widespread traction. Only a few institutions have begun to move in that direction.Still, at least one expert believes in five years the EMR will be commonplace.

The shift to the electronic medical record, while perhaps inevitable, has yet to find widespread traction. Only a few institutions have begun to move in that direction.

Still, at least one expert believes in five years the EMR will be commonplace.

"Five years ago, everyone was talking about PACS, but only a few university medical centers had one," said Lenny Reznik, senior marketing manager for radiology at Agfa HealthCare.

Today, every segment of the market is moving toward PACS, whether it's an imaging center, small office, or community hospital, and PACS has become the standard of care.

"In my opinion, in five years the EMR will likewise be the standard of care - everyone will be planning how to get there if they aren't there already," Reznik said.

Demands for better patient care and sounder economic outcomes are pushing healthcare toward enterprise-wide e-health solutions such as EMRs.

The EMR really isn't complete without imaging studies, Reznik said.

"It's great to get a PACS for the radiology department, but it's not just about radiology anymore," he said.

What hospitals need now are enterprise-wide image solutions that incorporate imaging studies from departments beyond radiology, such as cardiology, pathology, and orthopedics. All can eventually be attached to the patient's EMR.

"People contemplating EMRs should not forget about how they can get imaging studies into it," he said.

Relentless demand for more and more image storage has everyone's attention, even giant imaging firms like Agfa.

"We have customers who have 125 TB of data that are continuing to grow, and that's before digital mammography, which can be expected to double the data," Reznik said.

In order to secure their position in the field, Agfa has working relationships with 14 different storage vendors.

"We're not a storage company," Reznik said. "We want to make sure we can connect with anyone out there."

Being a storage broker has advantages for Agfa customers.

"Instead of customers dealing with storage companies directly, we can customize what different storage providers can do based on what that customer needs," said Katherine Beard, Agfa's Services Marketing Manager.

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