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Orthopedists Delight

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Orthopedists Delight

[This article was published in the June 2010 issue of the eHEALTH Magazine (http://www.ehealthonline.org)]

Digital technologies are ensuring enhancement in patient care by radicaly improving the treatment process

Digital technologies are ensuring enhancement in patient care by radicaly improving the treatment process

Orthopedic practices are shifting with the changing demographics. As our population ages placing pressure  on our healthcare facilities, it becomes increasingly important to implement a cohesive healthcare strategy.

The most effective way of creating this is through the introduction of a digital workflow. In order to optimise patient care, it is essential for orthopedic specialists to acquire, review, distribute, share and archive all the information necessary for a patient to be diagnosed, treated and monitored on an ongoing basis, if needs be. Digital methods are now widely recognised as providing the most complete solution to these needs.

Carestream Health provides a complete suite of digital solutions, ranging from entry-level computed radiography systems for image capture to scalable digital storage solutions, which ensure patient records are kept secure and readily available for follow-ups and further treatments. The move from film to a partial or completely digitised environment offers a whole host of benefits, the most obvious being the removal of physical storage space, chemistry, and processors for reproducing and sharing conventional X-ray film. Digital records can be accessed remotely and shared quickly and easily, enhancing patient care and improving communication and consultation methods. Through its ongoing research and collaboration with orthopedic specialists, Care stream Health is delivering solutions that work, are easy to install and effortlessly user friendly. Mirna Bassil, Marketing Manager, Middle East and Emerging Markets, Care stream Health explains, “Orthopedic practices are becoming more and more independent in providing with a full diagnosis and treatment program to the patients on the spot, without delays or intermediaries. The needs of the patients are important to us. Therefore, we have focused our efforts on developing a complete workflow solution that delivers efficiencies to every area of the practice.”

The first step in the digital transformation comes with the introduction of computed radiography (CR). CR can enhance operational workflow as well as provide major reductions in film and consumable costs.

Many studies have shown that substantial reduction in radiation doses can be achieved, with a significantly reduced chance of overdose, and the removal of chemistry and consumables from the working environment is seen as a major benefit. Overall, the drastically reduced required time slots and enhancements in patient care can radically improve the practice landscape. Marco Riolfo, CR Business Manager, Emerging Markets says, “We’ve developed solutions to fit with any size practice, understanding the different budgets and workflow needs of our customers. The Care stream Direct view Classic CR System is considered our flagship product but for many small practices, a simple, adapted solution suits.” According to him, the Kodak Point of- Care CR 360 System with its small footprint and high capacity is an ideal entry-level product and provides fast and easy capture of quality images at an affordable price.

“We’ve further enhanced our CR offering, particularly for orthopedic practices, with the introduction of Long- Length Imaging to provide a flexible solution, which enables orthopedic specialists view and diagnose a wide-range of long bone images within seconds,” he adds further.

Care stream Health breaks the digital workflow into five distinct stages, viz. Capture, Diagnosis, Planning, Surgery, and Distribution. Besides,  through its Computed Radiography, PACS, laser printing systems, and business consulting and professional services offers authentic, scalable solutions to suit any sized facility. In the planning and surgery phases, minimising OR time is crucial, therefore, powerful solutions for pre-operative planning and digital templating are required to enhance the diagnostic and procedural process. Carestream Health adopts an open standards philosophy to product development, selecting and integrating industry leader Orthoview Orthopedic Digital Imaging Solution to provide the best planning and templating option available. Orthoview is seamlessly linked with Carestream PACS through the Carestream PACS MX-Ortho viewing system. Digital templating offers increased accuracy and more precise measurement; it facilitates more creative planning, with a massive range of possibilities able to be played out using intuitive software and over 30,000 digital templates. Through the MX-Ortho, workstation practices gain on demand access to images and instant, robust storage and archiving solutions.

Carestream  Health completes its orthopedic portfolio with a range of business solutions including small footprint, high resolution, laser imaging desktop printers, disaster recovery protection, and practice management options to improve cash flow and complete the cycle. Increasing sub-specialisation and a drive towards earlier diagnosis of conditions are being supported by ever more intelligent products, such as those in the Carestream Health portfolio, and with a predicted shortage in orthopedic surgeons performing joint replacement surgery expected in the coming few years, the ability to make considerably earlier diagnosis and solve orthopedic problems with less invasive procedures will become increasingly important. Increasing sub-specialisation and a drive towards earlier diagnosis of conditions are being supported by ever more intelligent products, such as those in the Carestream Health portfolio, and with a predicted shortage in orthopedic surgeons performing joint replacement surgery expected in the coming few years, the ability to make considerably earlier diagnosis and solve orthopedic problems with less invasive procedures will become increasingly important.

Orthopedics – What does the future hold for

Quantum leaps in diagnostic technology mean that patients are benefiting through identification of conditions that can be treated with minimally invasive procedures, creating substantial savings for the industry and increasing patient throughput in busy hospitals. Any practice will know that it pays to be ahead of the market when it comes to technology, but selecting the right technology takes confidence and skill. Predictions for an increase in electronic medical records implementation and a more cohesive digital workflow are already becoming a reality. The most progressive practices are setting themselves apart through early adoption of digital workflows that benefit their patients and themselves. The digital vision is fast becoming a reality but far from it being a point to be concerned about, through partnering with knowledge loaded solutions  providers like Carestream Health, the transition can be made simple. Practices can convert, either in one hit or through a strategic long term plan, to running hybrid integrated solutions that best suit their needs.

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