Recently, we’re hearing more and more vets fess up to poor image archiving practices.
True vet confession #1: “I just save my diagnostic images wherever I’m working from at the time…”
Too often, vets to store images directly onto their workstation, or even just to the modality they’re capturing them through, because it’s fast and easy to do. But while this quick-fix may seem like a good idea at the time, these devices aren’t meant for long term image storage and often don’t adhere to DICOM compliance standards. And as a result, such vets can expect:
- To spend lots of time chasing images from different locations;
- Difficulty in finding the images they need for patient handovers;
- Difficulty in sharing images with referrers;
- Lost images, which may not be billed for, resulting in lost revenue as well;
- A limited ability to back up these files, which means that they are vulnerable to software viruses and computer malfunctions; and
- Additional work removing images when the computer needs replacing.
True vet confession #2: “I don’t really know how or where my diagnostic images are stored…”
Even more troubling is that we’re seeing is that some vets aren’t storing their patient images at all! Or at least, not for the minimum length of time required.
While it’s true that patient images can accumulate rapidly, The Australian Small Animal Veterinary Association (ASAVA) Manual of Hospital Standards and Accreditation 2011 states that medical records must be kept long enough to comply with state and federal regulations and recommends 7 years. State-based laws tend to vary, with mandatory storage requirements varying from three to seven years. If vets fail to do this, they leave themselves exposed from a legal standpoint and run the risk of non-compliance with veterinary regulations. It also means they reduce their ability to treat, or handover patients effectively should the patient require treatment in the future for a related injury.
Evidently, storing diagnostic images needs to be about more than just short-term convenience, as the potential consequences are likely to impact your productivity, your patient’s health outcomes in the long term, as well as expose you to legal risk.
True vet confession #3: “I just wish there was veterinary software that could do it all for me, so that I don’t have to think about it…”
One of the best long term solutions to storing patient images is to use cloud-based veterinary software. In using the cloud, we’ve seen veterinary practices become more efficient by:
- Having easy access to their patient files, even after considerable time;
- Increasing the security of their patient files; and
- Protecting themselves from litigation risks through adhering to compliance standards.
Recognising these specific requirements and realising the benefits vets stand to gain, we went out into the market to find the best cloud storage software for vets. Having successfully implemented it for numerous clients, we’ve identified that Vet-WEBX is a veterinary software that meets all of the requirements of an effective cloud solution.
Vet-WEBX is a complete solution, where images are stored in a vendor-neutral format, and adhere to DICOM standards. By storing images in the cloud, Vet-WEBX ensures that your images are easily accessible and are backed up without any risk of software viruses or infections, making your practice more efficient at managing your patient’s history.
The Vet-WEBX workflow
We integrated the Vet-WEBX PACS to the existing practice management software and modalities at Adelaide University Veterinary Health Centres. Read about how they were able to achieve true veterinary practice integration throughout their centres using this solution.
For more information on how you can ensure your practice is efficient in the handling of patient images, talk to us about our Veterinary DICOM Cloud Storage PACS or our VET-WEBX – Inhouse Veterinary PACS.