Veterinary Imaging: Business Benefits in Optimization

Understand the business benefits of using a modern PACS in this free ebook!

You’ll learn:

  • Learn about the most impactful features of a modern veterinary PACS.
  • Get a close look at what it takes to improve radiological processes and outcomes.
  • See the business benefits of a modern veterinary PACS solution.
  • Discover how optimized veterinary PACS help you directly impact profit.
  • Find specific ways to improve your imaging processes in your practice.
  • Get the full shoppers guide to finding a solution that drives better outcomes.

Excerpt

Veterinary Imaging: Business Benefits in Optimization

Introduction

I) Overview of the Market for Veterinary Imaging Solutions

The global market for veterinary imaging equipment is expected to exceed $1.69 billion by the end of 2021 and $2.43 billion by 2025. This growth can be attributed to companies adopting a new normal following the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic that necessitated restrictive containment measures like remote working, social distancing, and reduced commercial activities.

With more pet and livestock owners understanding the importance of veterinary imaging technology, many are actively incorporating veterinary imaging solutions into their operations. With veterinary imaging gaining popularity for purposes other than treating illnesses, the trajectory for the global veterinary imaging equipment market is expected to remain upward. 

Other areas where veterinary imaging solutions have gained popularity include the examination of sporting animals before purchase or for selective breeding purposes and computed tomography (CT) scans to assess meat and fat content levels in livestock.

The surge in pet and livestock populations and their associated diseases is expected to propel the demand for veterinary medical solutions, including veterinary imaging systems that help in diagnosing and assessing treatment outcomes in different animals.

II) Why Is Veterinary Imaging Important in the Veterinary Space?

When you begin navigating the intricate maze of pet care to diagnose a life-threatening ailment or assess the extent of an injury on a pet, you’ll often realize the importance of veterinary radiology.

One of the benefits that veterinary imaging introduces to the veterinary space is the capability to make accurate diagnoses. With veterinary imaging, practitioners can create images of foreign objects, large body cavities, and bones. With the images, veterinary specialists can easily detect deformities, fractures, infections, and injuries. Though radiographs may not provide all the information on the exact cause of a pet’s problem, a veterinarian can use these images to choose the most appropriate tests, thereby improving the accuracy of the diagnostic process. Accurate diagnostics help eliminate inefficiencies and reduce risks associated with excessive exposure. Over time, these translate to better treatment and business outcomes for your veterinary practice.

Assessing treatment effects on target tissues is also a crucial benefit of veterinary imaging. With different radiology features, veterinary practitioners can assess treatment outcomes on fractures, dropsies, neoplasms that cause tumors, anodynes, and much more. Veterinary imaging enables practitioners to view past and present aspects of a patient’s tissues, so they can determine the effectiveness of a treatment plan. With insight into the effectiveness of previous treatment programs, your veterinary practitioners can adjust selected treatment approaches, improving the overall outcomes of the treatment process. Ultimately, the regular evaluation of a treatment path—supported by veterinary imaging’s tissue assessment capabilities—can improve veterinary outcomes in your facility.

Veterinary imaging solutions also help integrate decision support systems into veterinary practices. Leveraging decision support systems can help your veterinary practice gain the benefits of veterinary information systems. For instance, your facility can decrease instances of adverse drug interactions; shorten the period of inpatient stay for pets; improve the content, consistency, and accuracy of veterinary medicine records; reduce variations in your practice; and enhance follow-up processes ensuring continuity in care. Decisions support systems can introduce radiology test ordering capabilities. With radiology test ordering, the decision support systems can help your veterinary practice select appropriate radiologic examinations, eliminate errors in veterinary radiology ordering, and highlight recent or redundant tests. This helps cut costs associated with the erroneous ordering of veterinary imaging processes and the wrongful selection of veterinary radiology examinations, improving your radiology practice’s efficiency.

With veterinary imaging, your facility can leverage picture archiving and communication systems (PACS), reaping the benefits therein. By integrating PACS to improve the performance of your veterinary imaging practice, your facility can reduce its expenditure by replacing local storage and CD costs. It also helps save the time required to burn patient records in CDs. With some PACS being cloud-based, your facility can benefit from having easy access in any location. Veterinary practitioners can access vital patient records via secure platforms, thereby improving convenience for your staff members. 

Furthermore, veterinary imaging supported by cloud-based PACS can help your facility overcome challenges associated with data loss. With regular backups, your facility’s data won’t be affected by hard drive crashes or power outages. The cumulative effects of reduced operation costs, convenient access to patient records, and fewer disruptions associated with data loss give your facility a competitive edge in the veterinary imaging space.

With the importance of veterinary imaging solutions and associated technologies, it’s vital to determine what optimized veterinary PACS are and how they influence veterinary imaging operations. Assessing the significance of optimized veterinary imaging solutions to business outcomes is essential.

Optimized Veterinary PACS and Why They Matter 

Optimized PACS or image management and communication systems are systems developed and tailored for the effective acquisition, storage, retrieval, and sharing of veterinary radiology images and records. Ideally, optimized PACS comprise image generation, distribution, and archiving capabilities. These are integrated with medical and radiology information systems (RIS), helping increase benefits for digital veterinary radiology systems.

With optimized PACS, practitioners in your veterinary radiology practice can enjoy immediate access to images and records, both onsite and remotely. Due to the information stored in the optimized image management solution, veterinary professionals can view different studies simultaneously, regardless of location. This has a profound and positive impact on consultation and collaboration procedures, thereby improving efficiency and treatment accuracy in your practice. 

Optimized PACS can enable your veterinary radiology practice to post-process general radiographs. Previously, enhancements in general radiographs were impossible once general radiographs had been developed. However, the storage of images digitally permits post-processing, helping to compensate for incorrect exposure during radiology procedures. This helps your practice reduce the number of required retests and provides your veterinary radiology specialists with accurate diagnostic information. In turn, this improves treatment outcomes and cuts costs linked to retests in your veterinary practice.

Integrating optimized PACS in your veterinary radiology practice can help your facility leverage digital archives, helping to eliminate lost images. Unlike film or CD-based images, digital images do not leave the archives. Rather, retrieved images are copies of the stored images. This helps prevent loss, essentially protecting your client’s images.

What’s more, optimized PACS can help your specialty leverage images in different modalities. These include CT, magnetic resonance imaging, and digital subtraction angiography. Optimized PACS can help your facility connect with other computerized veterinary radiology solutions, like RIS. These features help your facility access different images and leverage different radiology details to offer accurate diagnoses. This improves the effectiveness of treatment outcomes in your veterinary imaging business.

Optimized PACS can enhance the security of veterinary imaging operations within your facility. By leveraging standards, like digital imaging and communication in medicine (DICOM), optimized PACs can help your facility use acceptable protocols in the interchange of non-proprietary data, adopt accepted digital imaging formats, and document structures. DICOM standards address the management of key areas: imaging procedures, network imaging interpretation, printing images within a network, and offline storage. Therefore, working with an optimized PACS solution that’s adherent to DICOM guidelines can help your veterinary radiology safeguard client records by leveraging suitable data transfer and archiving procedures. 

Working with optimized PACS that adhere to DICOM standards will help your facility leverage automatic interoperability with other veterinary imaging solutions. With standardized storage methods—made possible by DICOM standards—your facility can integrate digital pathology with existent IT solutions, lowering collaboration barriers between disciplines. Ultimately, the benefits from DICOM-compliant PACS can lead to improved cross-discipline communication and improved bottom lines.

What Business Benefits Can Your Veterinary Imaging Service Reap from Optimized PACS Solutions?

With veterinary imaging businesses having varying needs, optimized solutions can help such facilities address their needs accurately. That said, investing in optimized PACS can profoundly benefit your veterinary radiology business. Here are a few benefits that you can expect to reap from these game-changing technologies.

I) Enhance Viewing and Analysis of Veterinary Radiology Images and Reports 

An optimized PACS can enhance the viewing and analysis of your veterinary radiology images and reports. It can enhance the viewing and analysis of veterinary radiology data in your facility through centralized archives. With this, your facility can eliminate several challenges that may hinder the viewing and analysis of client data. This helps your business accrue significant benefits. 

The first problem that your facility eliminates with a centralized archive is vendor “lock-ins,” the inability to interconnect system components from different vendors that offer archive solutions. Adopting different archives from different vendors can limit the viewing and analyses of images and reports at your facility. Different vendors employ unique data-sharing protocols and formats that may adversely affect interdepartmental sharing of client records. However, with a centralized archive provided by a single vendor, your practitioners can view images using a single viewer. This helps improve the sharing and viewing of patient records, helping your facility overcome workflow-related bottlenecks, cut waiting times for clients, and enhance treatment outcomes. 

Let’s look at an example. Take the case of Asteris Keystone PACS. Investing in this optimized PACS solution enables your business to reap the benefits of patented image handling protocols and browser-based DICOM viewers.

How do these features translate to improved outcomes for your business? 

First, with Asteris’s patented image handling protocols, your business can compress images without loss in quality, achieve faster off-site archiving speeds, and have the ability to view client images in case of lack of internet connectivity. These benefits improve your facility’s workflow and efficiency within your radiology business. 

Second, integrating a browser-based DICOM viewer into your operations helps your staff access and view client records in real time while maintaining the quality of renderings of the initial DICOM images. These features ensure that your facility eliminates any delays encountered when your staff members wait for studies to save to cloud-based archives, a common phenomenon with cloud-based solutions. Ultimately, such benefits can help your veterinary imaging facility develop an edge over its peers in the imaging space.

With a centralized archive, your facility eliminates complexities that affect the viewing and analyses of client images. Decentralized archives often introduce complexities to a veterinary radiology practice through proprietary standards. These heterogeneous standards limit the portability and interoperability of archiving systems. Moreover, heterogenous archiving solutions and interfaces can bind your organization to one type of archiving technology because it’s expensive to port client data to a different vendor’s interface. To your business, these un-optimized PACS can hinder efficiency by limiting the accessibility and sharing of essential client records. The resulting delays in diagnostic procedures can adversely affect treatment outcomes, patient satisfaction, and employee productivity. However, your organization can leverage an optimized PACS solution to reap the benefits of having a centralized archive in your practice.

Let’s look at Asteris Keystone as an example. When investing in this optimized PACS solution, your veterinary radiology business can leverage a homogenous and patented data packaging mechanism. This mechanism helps your staff share client images that are reduced by 55% without degrading image data. With this feature, your staff can assist in the faster transfer of files across networks or over the internet. The timely access of veterinary imaging records frees up more time for analysis and diagnosis, so working with this optimized imaging solution can improve accuracy and efficiency within your facility. Over time, this can help increase profitability.

Optimized PACS enhance the viewing and analyses of veterinary radiology images and reports by enabling the use of different computer tools to manipulate and process images. By working with soft copy images, optimized PACS enable the alteration of an image’s contrast and width, enabling the viewing of bony structures and soft tissues on a single exposure. For instance, with soft copy images supported by an optimized PACS, your veterinary radiologists can assess the left lower lobe behind the left cardiac silhouette. However, on an unexposed hardcopy chest radiograph, your practitioners may not be able to access this information. Thus, investing in an optimized PACS solution can enable your staff to increase the amount of information extractable from an image. Combined with technologies like photostimulable phosphor plates, your staff can enjoy a more dynamic range compared to working with traditional screen-film combinations. With these features, your staff can reap benefits related to the simultaneous visualization of structures with different radiodensities, helping lower exposure. 

With different computer tools to manipulate and process images—thanks to optimized PACS solutions—and technologies like photostimulable phosphor plates, your facility can reap significant benefits that relate to the efficient viewing and analyses of client data. The first benefit is shorter wait times for clients. Your staff can easily provide accurate diagnoses in record time. This cuts costs associated with delays and ineffective treatment plans. The second benefit relates to fewer retests and the subsequent costs. With your practitioners viewing and analyzing client images in more detail, they can provide accurate diagnoses of ailments, eliminating the need for retests. Given that retests can incur additional costs for your facility, eliminating errors helps improve your facility’s reputation and bottom line.

Optimized PACS also enhance the viewing and analysis of veterinary radiology data via the automatic and chronological ordering of client records. With optimized picture archiving solutions, your facility can improve the correct orientation and labeling of client data, easing the process of retrieving and utilizing such data. Criteria that optimized PACS can use include ordering client data, such as name, date, hospital number, and referring clinician, among others. With these features, optimized PACS promote the reviewing and examination of preceding studies and conducting intermodality comparisons, which help increase the accuracy of diagnostic procedures. With grouped and well-ordered client images and reports, your facility enhances its staff’s productivity, minimizing delays and incidences of lost data. Eventually, this promotes the accuracy of diagnostic procedures, improving your facility’s efficiency.

II) Leverage Cloud-Based Storage Systems to Improve Veterinary Radiology Efficiencies

Investing in an optimized PACS can help your facility leverage cloud-based archives. The goal of cloud-based archives is to provide scalable and simplified access to information technology services and computing resources. That said, your facility can exploit advantages availed by private cloud-based archives that adhere to government standards and that aim at improving the privacy and security of client data. 

With a cloud-based archive system, your facility can facilitate collaboration between veterinary specialists. Investing in a cloud-based PACS for your veterinary imaging practice simplifies the process of exchanging client records via web-based solutions.

By leveraging the ease of sharing client records between practitioners, your facility can increase cross-collaboration and consultation, improving the accuracy of diagnostic imaging reports. Noting that veterinary specialists can have unique skills in particular procedures, increased cross-disciplinary collaboration during the diagnostic process can help overcome challenges that lead to inaccurate diagnoses. With the ease of sharing client records, your business can leverage international expertise to help your facility take advantage of veterinary advances in other parts of the world. These can help your facility increase its operational efficiencies, reduce costs associated with retests, and improve treatment outcomes.

Investing in an optimized and cloud-based PACS helps improve your facility’s efficiency through convenient access. With cloud-based archives, your staff can leverage off-site and mobile access via any device and from anywhere. To add, your facility can benefit from online viewers and apps, reducing the need for on-site viewing of client records. With increased convenience, your staff can provide veterinary imaging reports in record time, enhancing the efficiencies in your facility. These benefits come from improvements in your workflow and help cut the costs of veterinary care, improve your patient’s satisfaction, and increase your staff’s productivity.

Let’s look at the cloud-based platform supported by Asteris Keystone PACS. Investing in this solution, your veterinary imaging staff can easily share and view client records, enabling cross-collaboration. Taking advantage of the Asteris Keystone Online app, your team can reap the benefits of accessing mobile and offsite veterinary imaging data via any platform. Your business will benefit from the automatic upgrade and update of Asteris Keystone’s viewing software and PACS. These can help your facility overcome bottlenecks that affect your efficiency.

Furthermore, investing in a veterinary radiology solution that integrates cloud storage can help your business cut operational costs and improve efficiency. Cloud-based veterinary PACS replace CDs and local archives, helping cut costs associated with the repurchase and maintenance of the conventional technologies. Adopting a cloud-based PACS also cuts the need for a huge internal IT department and reduces the office space required for local archives. With the reduced costs, your facility can invest in veterinary imaging solutions that help improve workflows. For instance, saved resources can be repurposed to acquire a leading cloud-based archive that incorporates a universal viewer. This will help your facility improve efficiency by leveraging patented image transfer methods and new technologies like web-based viewers. Ultimately, this will help boost your business’s effectiveness.

III) Improve Interoperability with an Optimized Application Programming Interface (API)

APIs are points of communication between systems that enable the communication and transfer of data between different archiving solutions. Depending on the configuration, APIs can enable systems in your facility to retrieve or send client records that are needed in making diagnostic reports. They can also help your facility share client records between systems.

So, how can optimized PACS that integrate APIs benefit your veterinary radiology business?

The first benefit relates to increased interconnectivity between PACS. With more veterinary radiology businesses shifting to cloud-based IT infrastructure and the use of digital information becoming an industry standard, interoperability between image archiving systems has become more challenging. However, adopting optimized PACs that integrate APIs simplifies interoperability for your business, enabling your staff and clients to share data more efficiently.

With increased interoperability due to open and secure APIs, your veterinary imaging business can take advantage of ethical standards relating to data use and privacy. Open APIs would give veterinary businesses the freedom to choose platforms, systems, and apps that suit their operations, and you can easily change a veterinary imaging solution to one that’s best suited for your operations. By overcoming problems associated with vendor “lock-ins” and expensive portability from one solution to another, your facility can adopt solutions that adhere to the ethical standards of managing pet parent records. These include principles of veterinary medical ethics and the veterinarian-client-patient relationship. With interoperable systems, your facility can easily migrate to a solution that adheres to DICOM standards. This can help your facility transfer images close to three times faster than your competitors, improving cross-specialty consultation and boosting client satisfaction at your facility. Adhering to ethical guidelines helps your facility avoid disruptions that relate to violating ethical guidelines, improving efficiency.

For instance, leveraging interoperability that’s supported by APIs can help your facility transition to a novel technology like Asteris Keystone PACS. With this PACS, your facility can enjoy compliance with veterinary medicine standards and DICOM guidelines, eliminating challenges introduced by non-compliance. Over time, this can help your facility improve data security. Compliance with standard protocols in managing the transmission of veterinary images and related data helps you fulfill your facility’s imaging and encoding needs. In turn, this helps eliminate risks that can put your client’s data at risk.

Increased interoperability also helps your facility seamlessly connect with diagnostic equipment, practice management software, and RIS. With interconnected veterinary imaging solutions, your facility can benefit from improved workflows and increased productivity among staff members. Highly interoperable systems can leverage an array of time-saving features—including pre-designed report templates and speech-to-text—when creating diagnostic reports. This helps cut the time required to deliver reports to veterinary practitioners and pet parents, contributing to the timely treatment of clients. Ultimately, highly interoperable veterinary imaging systems and their interlinked solutions help improve treatment outcomes and client satisfaction within your facility.

In addition, open-access APIs can help your PACS leverage increased interoperability, eliminating errors. With interoperable systems, your veterinary imaging staff can receive the benefits associated with laboratory information systems, radiology PACS, and electronic medical records. Effectively, this helps reduce the likelihood of errors. To clarify, by integrating decision support systems, your staff can avoid mix-ups that lead to misdiagnoses. This helps avoid expensive retests and resulting client dissatisfaction. API-based interoperability also helps your team access vital client records, helping save pet-parents the agony of losing their best friends. Over time, these benefits can help your organization improve diagnostic accuracy and eliminate costly delays.

Here at Asteris, it’s our goal to help veterinarians make sound medical decisions with ease, clarity, and confidence by giving them the tools and insights that they need to optimize the way they work.
If you’re ready to stop feeling like there’s not enough time in your day, we can help you optimize your imaging processes and the way you work. Contact our specialists today to get started!