Making the case for cloud-based mammography as a population health play
Kathryn Pearson Peyton, MD, has a bold vision for the future of mammography: To convince some 60 million women of the enormous potential of image sharing and to inspire technology companies to work on storing breast cancer images in the cloud so they are interoperable.
“If we can stimulate the IT world to play well together, we can make a huge difference in population health,” said the radiologist and women’s health IT advocate who retired from her practice in 2012 to found the nonprofit technology company, Mammosphere, which stores and exchanges mammograms and other breast imaging studies in the cloud. (Mammosphere was acquired in 2016 by lifeIMAGE, where Pearson Peyton now serves as Chair of the Women’s Health Advisory Board.)
Pearson Peyton’s interest in women’s health is both professional and personal.
“All of my family going back three generations has had breast cancer,” she said. “I felt it was important to improve breast cancer detection and reduce unnecessary imaging and all that goes along with it.”
But her long-term goal is to inspire adoption of the cloud-based model by other imaging-intensive specialties and development of enterprise-friendly medical image-sharing implementations that will improve patient outcomes.
“Breast imaging is high-volume, has an emotionally engaging focus and a research-proven need for the prior exam,” she said. “If we can engage 60 million women to understand the need for image sharing, it will be the impetus for all general image sharing. As women make more healthcare decisions for their families, they will start to want to control their images. And if we can send images between facilities across the country, then we can really improve patient care.”
A major barrier to healthcare interoperability, according to Pearson Peyton, is the increasing workload faced by IT professionals.
“IT staffers at hospitals are overwhelmed with responsibilities,” she says. “If we can show them how this specifically helps patients and is more than just integrating systems, we can make real progress.”
Pearson Peyton and Wyatt Tellis, director of imaging IT solutions in the Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging at the University of California, San Francisco, will conduct an interactive education session at HIMSS17 titled “Interoperability Matters: Impact on Mammography Outcomes.”
The two speakers will identify areas of need for medical image sharing in the healthcare enterprise, discuss real-world outcomes data from mammography study (and appraise how to repeat the results), and explain how attendees can evaluate and recognize specialties needing interoperability improvement at their facilities.
“There’s a bigger mission out there in taking care of patients that we need to address as a population health-based society,” she says. “And there’s no good reason not to do it.”
“Interoperability Matters: Impact on Mammography Outcomes” will be held on Thursday, February 23, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. EST at the Orange County Convention Center, Room 303A.
HIMSS17 runs from Feb. 19-23, 2017 at the Orange County Convention Center.
This article is part of our ongoing coverage of HIMSS17. Visit Destination HIMSS17 for previews, reporting live from the show floor and after the conference.