Colorado Telehealth Network to offer statewide image archive and exchange

Will allow storage and sharing via private cloud
By Mike Miliard
03:43 PM
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The Colorado Telehealth Network (CTN) announced Wednesday it will enable hospitals, imaging centers and other providers throughout the state to safely store and share medical images through a private cloud hosted by Atlanta-based GNAX Health.

CTN and GNAX Health are working with the Colorado Regional Health Information Organization (CORHIO) and Quality Health Network (QHN) – the two Colorado health information exchanges – to image-enable their physician portals so that images and diagnostic reports will be available through the HIEs, officials say.

GNAX Health will also allow CTN to offer disaster recovery and business continuity solutions, and the ability for EMRs to be integrated with the infrastructure so as to provide physicians a single interface for viewing all medical images – a requirement for Stage 2 meaningful use.

Nine CHA member hospitals worked with CTN over the past eight months to develop the imaging program with input from hospitals across Colorado, officials say.

CTN officials say the network tapped GNAX Health, through a strategic alliance with Acuo Technologies and Client Outlook, because the capabilities required for the initiative – the ability to search, retrieve and exchange medical image studies federated across CTN, and to view images quickly from the cloud – were best served by a best-of-breed approach.

"This pioneering agreement between CTN, GNAX, Acuo Technologies and Client Outlook further solidifies our network as a national leader in health information technology and connectivity," said Ed Bostick, CTN executive director. "We are confident this new image-storing service has the functionality and advantages our clients deserve, and promises to significantly enhance patient care coordination and quality across Colorado."

Acuo's Universal Clinical Platform (UCP) and Client Outlook's eUnity clinical image visualization, sharing and collaboration toolset will be hosted within GNAX's cloud infrastructure and tier-4 data centers, officials say.

This collaborative will offer the components critical to building a statewide vendor neutral archive (VNA) and, subsequently, a secure disaster recovery and business continuity solution for medical imaging, they add.

"This is a great example of a successful public-private partnership," said Jeff Hinkle, chief executive officer for GNAX Health. "This offering tightly integrates world-class clinical content viewing, abstraction and life-cycle management applications, data migration, cloud-computing and customer support services into a single bundle, greatly simplifying the process of administering enterprise medical image access, exchange and management while reducing IT costs."

GNAX Health is also providing a Web-based image exchange service for CTN, called SDEX (Secure DICOM Exchange) that is integrated into the foundation of Acuo's UCP and utilizes the Client Outlook viewer, officials say. It integrates with providers' employee and patient identification systems to access and simplify patient searches. Studies can be retrieved from any of the connected PACS, local edge devices or from the cloud archive, making the location of the image transparent to the end user in addition to reducing the storage space required.

CTN officials say the collaborative nature of this initiative will make it affordable for all providers in Colorado. The services are available to all CTN members through flexible deployment models that fit each provider's needs. The program is financially sustained through a subscription model based on the number of studies ingested and the amount of cloud storage required. Because the program is scaled across the entire state of Colorado, it provides cost savings for both large and small providers.

Two hospitals are slated to begin implementation this year, with more set to sign on for 2013, officials say.