|Ingham Medical Center, located in Lansing, Michigan
and their sister hospital McLaren Medical Center based in nearby Flint
offer extensive care programs in the areas of cardiology and cardiac
surgery. According to Connie Allen, Director of Cardiology at Ingham,
the hospital sees about 7,000 cardiac cases annually.
When Ingham and McLaren began looking for a filmless digital archiving
system, their evaluations led them to choose the DISC Optical Library
(Orion Series) and Optimed's Opticor Image Management and Archiving
System. Both Ingham and McLaren installed identical systems during
the later part of 1999.
Prior to the installation, all cardiac-catheterization labs were
shooting images with 35mm film. By electing to switch their entire
system to a digital format, hospital staff and patients reduced
their exposure to radiation by an astonishing 60%.
Connie Allen explains, "Radiation exposure is always a concern.
This has been one of the biggest benefits to the patients, physicians
and staff. By digitally acquiring the images and transferring them
(to be archived in the DISC library) the reduction of radiation
to everyone in the room is huge."
Allen also cites the ability of the physicians to have random access
to historical data. "Now our physicians are totally independent
and can get to whatever patient information they need." Allen
continued, "It didn't used to be this way. We would always
have to come in after-hours and send a technician down to the basement
to look for the old film."
Today, if a patient comes into the emergency room or gets into
trouble in the critical care unit, patient information can be immediately
typed in and retrieved. For the physicians at Ingham and McLaren
Medical Centers, the images are now available 24 hours a day.
The hospitals have also benefited by the reduction in operating
costs. By switching from 35mm film to archiving images digitally
in the DISC library, operation costs have dropped from $55.00 to
$5.00 per case.
Another advantage to having the patient procedures archived in
DISC's optical library comes from requests sent in by referring
physicians. When all the images were stored on film, the information
really couldn't be duplicated. Allen recalled, "If a patient
was retired and living in Florida and we had to send their cath
file down there, it was very problematic when it came to getting
it returned. Our only original went through a very labor-intensive
process. We had to keep track who had our film and try to retrieve
them. Now, with the DISC library in place, it's a mute point."
Today Ingham and McLaren hospitals retrieve their medical images
stored on the library and are then archived onto a CD. From there,
the CD is sent to the requesting physician while the originals remain
untouched. "Eliminating this tracking process has been wonderful,"
continued Connie Allen, "As a result, staff has been freed
up to focus in on more critical needs, providing increased levels
of operating efficiency for both hospitals."
The DISC Orion Series jukebox, located at each hospital, contains
1,000 disks and can store up to 21,000 patient procedures. It is
designed to take both Ingham and McLaren through a 3 to 4 year growth
period. As a result of its success with DISC and Optimed, Ingham
is now exploring the possibility of digitizing their non-evasive
cardiology images and echocardiograms as well.
Ingham and McLaren's desire to provide the best possible care to
their cardiac-catheterization patients, physicians and staff has
rewarded them with an environment that offers better safety, accessibility