How ImageGear Medical Is Enhancing EHR Applications
For today’s healthcare organizations, having a versatile electronic health records (EHR) system is essential for running an efficient practice and connecting to other medical providers. Thanks to EHRs, practices can ensure that they’re getting a complete picture of a patient’s health and treatment history, which allows them to deliver much better care outcomes. As developers continue to refine the usability of these systems, they need to consider how they can improve core features like healthcare electronic document management and medical imaging support.
Managing Medical Documents
A typical EHR system has to be able to handle quite a lot of document types. Anyone who has visited a healthcare provider is quite familiar with the myriad forms used to gather patient information. Many of those forms end up being converted into digital formats that need to be managed within the EHR system. Then there are digital versions of lab reports, physician notes, invoices, and financial documents.
While EHR systems may utilize databases to store much of the information they need, healthcare providers still need to be able to produce physical documents and view digital files in many situations. This could include communicating information to patients, complying with regulatory requests, or filing a financial claim of some kind. More importantly, they also rely on digital documents to enter data into the EHR system. The push toward interoperability between EHR systems has improved information sharing, but there are still many instances where medical records are delivered in the form of a document that needs to be managed securely.
If an EHR application lacks the right file conversion capabilities, viewing and extracting data from those documents could prove difficult. The last thing a practice wants to do is actually remove them from the secure EHR system to open and convert the files using separate software that may not be compliant when it comes to handling healthcare information. Even if the external application is secure, transferring files over, converting them, and then transferring them back is both inefficient and creates unnecessary risk (especially if someone forgets to delete the original file or move it back into the EHR environment).
ImageGear Medical has a document conversion feature that supports a wide range of file types, allowing developers to build EHR applications capable of quickly converting incoming documents. They can even set up their solution to perform conversion tasks programmatically to help streamline workflows and minimize human error. This helps practices to get a better handle on document management, ensuring that they will be able to do everything they need with files completely within the EHR application.
Other Essential Document Features
But ImageGear Medical’s document capabilities go far beyond just conversion. With full annotation support, developers can provide markup tools within the EHR system that allow physicians to make notes and comments on various documents. This allows them to share information much more easily. If a physician has a question about a diagnosis or a prescription, for instance, they can simply leave an annotation note directly on the document rather than referring to it in a separate message.
ImageGear Medical also allows applications to perform full-page optical character recognition (OCR), which can quickly read and extract text from document and image files. This feature is especially useful for capturing text from scanned images of documents, which can then be used to create a searchable PDF or fill form fields within the EHR system. The OCR engine not only reads most Western languages, but also detects and reads several Eastern language characters.
Managing DICOM Files
One of the biggest challenges healthcare organizations face is with managing medical imaging files. When providers need to send X-Rays, MRIs, or CT Scans, they use a standardized file format known as Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) files. These files are more than just image files, however. They contain extensive datasets that provide a patient’s information along with image pixel data for multi-dimensional medical scans. A DICOM file can be quite large due to the high-resolution image data used by most medical imaging equipment.
Although most EHR systems are capable of transmitting DICOM files (via a DICOM out or DICOM send feature), they usually can’t actually view them in their native format. Since Windows doesn’t recognize them as image files, additional viewing software is typically needed to open and view them. This is why physical storage, like discs and flash drives, are often used to transfer DICOM files along with the necessary viewing software.
ImageGear Medical helps to solve the DICOM dilemma thanks to its extensive conversion and compression capabilities. By decoding the complex data contained within the file, ImageGear Medical can convert DICOM files into image formats that are much easier to view and manage. This is especially useful for smaller practices that don’t have a picture archiving and communication system (PACS) capable of storing, retrieving, distributing, and viewing high-quality medical images.
Converting DICOM files makes it possible for healthcare professionals to view them on any device connected with their EHR system. That could include tablets or other IoT devices that healthcare technology companies are rolling out to put critical medical data on the front lines of everyday care. Developers can also use ImageGear Medical’s conversion tools to allow their EHR system to share viewable versions of diagnostic scans with patients, allowing practices to make good on the promise of providing patients access to their essential health data at all times.
The sheer size of DICOM files makes them difficult for many practices to manage. Simply compressing them tends to degrade the image data, which can create significant problems when files are unpacked and opened for viewing. Losing even a small degree of image quality can make it much harder to render an accurate diagnosis. In some cases, poorly designed compression can even make it nearly impossible to uncompress again at all. Thanks to powerful lossless compression technology, ImageGear Medical makes it easier to share medical images between providers without damaging the integrity of the original data.
Expand EHR Capabilities with ImageGear Medical
Accusoft’s imaging, conversion, and compression technology has been supporting the needs of the healthcare industry for decades. As developers work to expand the capabilities of their EHR applications, our engineers are busy improving the medical SDKs that will provide them with the features they need to stand out in a competitive market.
ImageGear Medical utilizes a combination of efficient code and elegant APIs to deliver the document and image processing tools EHR systems require. For a closer look at this dynamic SDKs capabilities, check out our extensive developer resources today or download a free trial to get started.