This is the 3rd blog in a series focusing ~ above how medical care organizations are taking care of unprecedented volumes of unstructured data and also how this effects the holistic view of the patient’s data. My very first blog handle the difficulties this brand-new data phenomena presents; the second discussed exactly how one organization, the IHE (Integrating the healthcare Enterprise), is working to resolve these issues.

You are watching: What is an accession number in healthcare

In this blog, I will examine extr problems with unstructured data the exist wherein integration is fairly well defined in clinical environments such together radiology and also oncology.

Radiology Scheduled job-related Flow

Let’s start with among the much more successful IHE integration profiles, the radiology reserved work flow (SWF). The SWF integration profile specifies how info is exchanged between different systems in the process of ordering, acquiring, reading and also reporting ~ above a radiology imaging procedure. Numerous radiology departments are successfully using the transactions defined by SWF come exchange data because that radiology procedures.

Even in this well-defined environment, troubles still exist for data exchange. Three examples that i’ve encountered in ~ hospitals are:

Scanned files during AdmissionScanned patient HistoriesRadiology Reports

Scanned files during Admission

When a patience presents at the hospital for a radiology procedure, they go through the admitting process. This procedure often requires the patient providing a photograph ID come ensure appropriate patient identification, and/or an insurance card for suitable billing. These space scanned to digital images and are save in the Hospital information System (HIS). When the HIS does transfer the patient details to other systems v an HL7 ADT message, the scanned photos themselves space not available to various other systems. Can the photo ID of the patient assist ensure the the exactly patient data is selected at the imaging modality, or within the PACS? because that example, the patient because that a radiology procedure is typically selected native a job-related list, however what if there are two patients through a typical name? The photo ID could aid to ensure that the correct patient is selected from the work-related list.

Scanned patient Histories

Prior come the radiology procedure, a file will it is in filled out to capture the patient history. It is essential to know details such as whether the patient is pregnant prior to performing a radiology procedure. At many sites, this info is initially caught on paper. In stimulate to make the patient history available come the radiologist once reading the images, sites will regularly scan the document as a JPEG image, and also then usage software linked with the scanner to “wrap” the JPEG picture with a DICOM header so the it is connected with the imaging research in DICOM. This process is known as “DICOM-wrapping” and also is widely offered to make data obtainable to the radiologist as component of the radiology research in PACS.

While this process works for its plan purpose, some inquiries arise with regard come the accessibility of this patient data. If, because that example, you wanted to to compare the different histories native multiple radiology procedures, just how would you execute that? How might you search the background for separation, personal, instance values? because the history is a scanned image, you might not find the histories for the different medications that a patient has actually taken. Also, this process works now for the radiologist who knows how to accessibility the radiology procedure in PACS, yet how does the introduce physician access this data? Or an additional department?

The an excellent news is that electronic Medical record systems are resolving this problem, make the patient background available to all that need it. But what around all the legacy patient background data save as photos in PACS? just how would that be imported right into the EMR?

Radiology Reports

As we’ve mentioned, lot of the work flow surrounding the radiology procedure is defined by IHE and also works well. There are some problem areas, however, specifically pertained to the radiology report. In nearly all atmospheres the reports room stored in the Radiology details System, RIS, and also the images are stored in the PACS. Many sites usage an identifier referred to as the “accession number” to link the report come the images. The accession number is connected using one HL7 order article (ORM) to all solution that need it, including PACS.

The difficulty occurs when you want to view both the report and the pictures together. Exactly how does PACS acquire a copy of the report? IHE specifies this transaction using a DICOM Structured Report. The difficulty with this is that very couple of Radiology information Systems assistance DICOM Structured Reports. Nearly all Radiology details Systems distribution the report using an HL7 ORU message. If the PACS does not assistance the HL7 ORU message, how can it display screen the report to the radiologist?

Other remedies have consisted of the use of desktop computer integration, where two applications room coordinated to display screen data for the exact same patient. Once the radiologist bring up the examine for the patience in PACS, the ascede number is offered to display screen the report in the RIS. Also, countless EMR systems administer ways of the town hall both the images and the report by having actually a connect to the radiology report in the RIS, and also a connect to the images in PACS. The physicians click these links to view both the images and the report. Since there is no standard method to incorporate the city hall of the radiology report along with the images, various applications provide different approaches to solve the problem. As long as every one of the applications support the liked solution, whatever works fine. What happens when a new or replacement application is presented that go not assistance the preferred solution? A new solution to viewing reports and also images have to be implemented, frequently resulting in the disruption that the clinical occupational flow.


Another example atmosphere is Oncology where there are plenty of different applications, part that assistance DICOM because that images and some the don’t support DICOM. Even among those that assistance DICOM, there room issues.

Oncology clinics will often have multiple treatment planning stations, supplied by various personnel to plan the therapy of different types of cancer. These treatment planning stations room from multiple vendors. They all assistance DICOM, yet they regularly have different methods that archiving data, do it daunting to have actually a main archive. Patient will occasionally have various treatment plans on various treatment planning stations. In this environment, how do girlfriend answer the complying with questions?

What treatment plans have been produced for a patient?When to be these plans created?What therapy stations created these plans?What happens as soon as a treatment station is retired? where does its data go?How go the treatment team obtain a complete view of the patients’ plan and history?

There are also applications in Oncology that do not support DICOM images. Because that example, a skin cancer treatment planning station might use photographs save on computer in JPEG. The patient data is no stored as component of the JPEG image, as it is in DICOM. Regularly these JPEG images are included within a folder that has actually the patience ID as the folder name. The patience ID folders also contain the therapy plans and any reports in addition to the photographs in JPEG. There are similar difficulties answering the same concerns we witnessed for the DICOM treatment planning stations, however it is facility further by the different data format, applications, and also ways of identifying a patient.

You could ask: Why not store the JPEG images in DICOM? The application that generates this data regularly does not support DICOM, result in another application being included to the atmosphere to perform DICOM wrapping and also to store and retrieve the data in DICOM. This to add overhead, slows under the process, and as a result does not provide sufficient benefit to support the costs and also overhead.

These examples illustrate the troubles accessing patience data in just two departments, radiology and also oncology. Over there are numerous other departments, such together pathology, laboratory, dermatology and surgery, each of which are regulating patient data the is regularly inaccessible external of its major use. Healthcare is clearly in need of a systems that provides a standard an approach to consolidate and make patient data obtainable wherever the is needed.

See more: How To Play The Mario Theme On Piano /Keyboard, Super Mario Theme

As difficult as all these problems are, so far we have actually assumed that we have actually correctly identified the patient. In my following blog I will certainly examine problems related to patient identification.

Read the an initial two blog in the series:

Much Ado around Unstructured Data;

IHE, tough at job-related Solving Healthcare’s big Data Dilemma

Download the BridgeHead whitepaper: VNA Does not Equal picture Availability: What You should Know