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Proceedings Paper

Vision and benefits of a virtual radiology environment for the U.S. Army
Author(s): Anna K. Chacko M.D.; Robert Griffin; Jay F. Cook; Ralph Martinez; H. William Lollar; Guadalupe Perez
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Paper Abstract

The changes that have overtaken the U.S. healthcare industry in the last five years could be best characterized as tectonic shifts. Every aspect of the healthcare market has been affected by the changes in Government policy and the attitude of society to issues in Healthcare. Most of these changes have been viewed as adversarial both to the health care provider and to the consumer. Healthcare reform was to have made healthcare more affordable and more available. Although healthcare reform was not passed, attempts have been made nationwide to address the ills of the system. These attempts have been largely half-hearted and weak-kneed. In most instances, only half a solution has been provided. There has been no improvement in the quality of care. In fact, in many instances, there has been degradation in quality and it has not become more available. We are faced with seemingly conflicting mandates -- providing quality care making it more available working under severe capitation constraints and attracting and retaining a quality workforce. How do we address these problems? We have to change. We have to adopt the military paradigm of agility, adaptability and flexibility applicable to military science to our field of endeavor. We have to consider achieving all our goals without sacrificing any aspect. The most obvious step is to improve efficiency. This can be done best by incorporating the advantages that information technology has bestowed on other fields of endeavor. Properly applied information technology will provide the answer to improving efficiency in the Healthcare field. In the Department of Defense (DoD), we are now embarking on an extremely exciting new idea -- rendering the entire Virtual Radiology Environment (VRE). The business of radiology in the military therefore, is being re-engineered on several fronts. This is achieved in several sequential steps: (1) Equipping every radiology department to become digital and PACS-network capable. (2) Information Retrieval, Routing and Archiving -- developing a network. (3) Relook at staffing patterns and intelligent management of those patterns. (4) Arming ourselves for the future -- learning to enjoy chaos. In this paper, we then formulate a master plan for developing large hospital PAC Systems that will service the entire Regional Medical Command (RMC) and Medical Treatment Facilities (MTFs). The systems engineering methodology is presented, as well as some important characteristics of the VRE. The resulting Virtual Radiology Environment will enable to improve access and quality and reduce cost in the Army.

Paper Details

Date Published: 13 July 1998
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 3339, Medical Imaging 1998: PACS Design and Evaluation: Engineering and Clinical Issues, (13 July 1998); doi: 10.1117/12.319770
Show Author Affiliations
Anna K. Chacko M.D., Brooke Army Medical Ctr. (United States)
Robert Griffin, Dwight D. Eisenhower Medical Ctr. (United States)
Jay F. Cook, Brooke Army Medical Ctr. (United States)
Ralph Martinez, Univ. of Arizona (United States)
H. William Lollar, Brooke Army Medical Ctr. (United States)
Guadalupe Perez, Brooke Army Medical Ctr. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3339:
Medical Imaging 1998: PACS Design and Evaluation: Engineering and Clinical Issues
Steven C. Horii M.D.; G. James Blaine, Editor(s)

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