For the first time in Qatar, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has developed a clinical imaging platform which will enable digital images such as x-rays and MRI scans to be shared among all healthcare providers in the country.
This national clinical imaging platform brings together patient imaging data from various medical specialties into a single repository and enables it to be shared with other healthcare providers including Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) and Sidra Medical and Research Centre (Sidra).
Today, the national clinical imaging repository holds close to 20 million images which all private hospitals across the country as well as hospitals overseas will be able to access provided that privacy regulatory criteria are met.
HMC’s Chief of Health Information and Communications Technology (HICT), Mr. Clive Gibbons, described the new platform as a key achievement in the development of digital hospitals in Qatar. “The availability of images for multiple medical specialties from a single repository at the point of care, especially in our Accident and Emergency unit enables faster care delivery and saves money for both healthcare providers and patients as it removes the need to repeat examinations.”
Expanding on the additional benefits to patients, HMC’s Director of HICT for Clinical Imaging, Mr. Dharmendra Ghai said: “With this innovative approach, a patient will no longer need to repeat the same imaging procedure even if they get treatment at more than one healthcare provider. This means that their exposure to radiation will be reduced. We expect that the introduction of the clinical imaging platform will lead to repeat exams falling by as much as 22 to 25 percent.”
He added that: “It is further expected to decrease patient waiting time for those requiring exams by reducing demand for repeat exams/equipment and clinicians’ time, therefore increasing efficiency of care delivery and increasing access to services.”
Mr. Ghai also explained about the importance of digital images for ground-breaking research in the field of computer-aided diagnosis (CAD) to aid treatment delivery. He said: “Digital images provide a great deal of data which clinicians have to analyze and interpret in a relatively short period of time. CAD can help with this process by looking at the digital images stored on a database and recognizing patterns based on past data. This can support the clinician’s diagnosis or evaluation by highlighting any areas of concern with the patient.”
The platform is from Mach7 Technologies based in the USA. HMC expects it to be leveraged for various workflows including overseas treatment and remote consultations, helping HMC meets its vision of providing all patients with the safest, most effective and most compassionate care.