Sanford Health continues a legacy of collaboration with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The healthcare system sponsors and connects to an exchange of digital medical images.
The goal is to improve health care options for Midwest veterans seeking medical services outside of the VA under the Mission Act. Sanford USD Medical Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is the first to connect with other locations soon.
“Hopefully we start to see very positive stories for that,” Nathan Opitz said. Opitz helped lead the initiative as Sanford’s health director of Clinical Department Solutions.
“Big difference” for veterans
The exchange allows Sanford Health and VA health care systems in South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska to securely share medical images of veteran patients and record data electronically. Reduce the need for physical supports.
“I really think establishing that connection will make a big difference for Sanford and for our relationship with our veterans,” Opitz said.
Opitz says it will reduce the duplicate image, make it easier to receive patients, and can save lives. Maintain Sanford Health and AV a step forward in patient care.
It is possible thanks to a partnership between Sanford Heallth and Medicom that began in 2020. The company, which has been working with VA since 2016, is the creator of the country’s first federated health information network. While the concept may seem common sense, Medicom CEO Michael Rosenberg says there aren’t many health systems that can share medical images electronically with other organizations by 2021.
“Sanford is ahead of the curve in that,” Rosenberg said.
No more CDs
Rosenberg says the Medicom network helps veterans avoid delays in care when they need services in multiple health systems. It takes everything that goes into creating business images and dramatically increases the speed of data transfer.
“Instead of exchanging information on paper, on CD, or by fax, our goal is to cover the company with the tools and resources to facilitate electronic exchange,” Rosenberg said.
The exchange of information aims to enable providers by giving them easy access to patient information. Medicom does not store the data. Indicate the information and make it available through your own search engine.
A retired Navy officer, Paul Weckman goes to VA and Sanford Health for his medical needs.
“I broke my back on active duty,” said Weckman, head of Military and Veterans Affairs at Sanford Health.
Due to the injury, he needs new resonances constantly. Weckman receives treatment at Sanford Health based on this information from the VA.
“My vertebrae are changing. They always have to have up-to-date MRI scans because they have to do spinal epidurals on their back, ”Weckman said.
He is now more confident that his doctors will have all the records they need in a timely manner.
“They can take a look at my past image and see how things have changed,” Weckman said. “A doctor who will work on my spine will have the most up-to-date information.”
Information available to suppliers
Using an exchange can also reduce administrative costs. Hours dedicated to sending requests and arranging CD delivery via courier or email.
“Suppliers who want to see the information or view the image. It is within your reach. It’s there, ”says Paul Burud, executive director of Sanford Heart Fargo.
Burud recalls a busy time of year when Sanford Health staff needed images for a veteran patient in North Dakota during an emergency and could not get it on time.
“Our doctor tried to acquire these images and overcome them, but during the holidays it was very difficult. It was an emerging situation. We couldn’t, ”Burud says.
With Sanford Health and VA operating clinics side by side in the Midwest, it offers veterans the option to go back and forth and experience fluid care.
“It affects the Sanford system significantly because, thankfully, we have these systems (VAs) that are in our treatment areas,” says Burud.
Passion for veterans
With a grandfather who served in World War II, Opitz hopes this connection will create more valuable care for veterans.
“It warms my heart because when I look at doing things in my space, I always try to have that direct impact of patient care. When it comes to technology, in certain areas of technology, you are sometimes one or two steps away from the real “making a difference,” Opitz said.
This approach to improving the lives of veterans through better care goes nowhere.
“It simply came to our notice then. I can’t say it any easier than that. The leadership here (at Sanford Health) fully understands and recognizes the sacrifices these men and women have made to protect our freedoms. That’s one way to show our appreciation is to provide them with the best care of the best quality that anyone can provide them, ”Weckman said.
Nationally, Medicom believes that this new way of exchanging images and accompanying clinical documents will save $ 163-181 million a year.
“We’re very proud of the work,” Rosenberg said.
The future of sharing
Every year, Medicom adds new organizations to its network. Sanford Health can also share with these systems. Opitz, who now works at Medicom, says it’s a big win.
“Once you are connected to the VISN 23 network, you can basically start connecting to all the VAs in the network. If Medicom has established connections with other VISN networks across the country, you can start interconnecting VISN networks. From here, literally make a cascading connection across the country from a veteran perspective. Which is extremely powerful, ”Opitz said.
Rosenberg and Medicom see this partnership as just the beginning. He says Sanford Health conducts half a million exchanges a year through faxes and CDs. Right now, the healthcare system connects to 75 more organizations through Medicom.
“We are contemplating our next project, which is to work to get laboratory data to flow between Sanford and VA. I see that the image component is just the beginning, ”said Rosenberg.
He is grateful for the relationship with Sanford Health. Rosenberg says it is a system willing to innovate when it comes to information technology.
“It has been such a refreshing relationship for us. Where we can bring new ideas, new technologies and innovate quickly, improve them quickly and deploy them quickly in Sanford. Things that have been in other health systems for years are a couple of conversations in Sanford, ”Rosenberg said.
Posted in Images, News, Veterans