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AHN Partners with lifeIMAGE to Provide Immediate Access to Trauma and Stroke Patients’ Images From Community Hospitals Throughout the Region

Thursday, August 2, 2018

PITTSBURGH, Pa.  – Allegheny Health Network (AHN) has selected the lifeIMAGE medical image e-sharing platform to connect clinicians inside and outside the network to vital patient imaging exams, saving valuable time and resources for patients suffering a life-threatening stroke or trauma.

AHN joins other leading hospital systems nationwide in using lifeIMAGE, which expands access to patients’ medical histories through cloud-based diagnostic image sharing. lifeIMAGE connects trauma and stroke patients at AHN’s Allegheny General Hospital (AGH) to multiple community hospitals throughout the tri-state area, giving doctors quick access to patients’ images upon, or prior to, their arrival at AGH. Clarion Hospital and another western Pennsylvania hospital are the first confirmed participants, and other regional hospitals are either in the process of being connected or in talks with AHN.

AGH was one of the first medical centers in the country to be designated as an Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center by the Joint Commission, providing acute care by stroke neurologists 24 hours a day. AGH is also home to a Level 1 trauma center, a major referral center for western Pennsylvania, southeastern Ohio and northwestern West Virginia, that treats more than 5,000 patients each year.

“Patients in a time-critical situation, such as a stroke or traumatic injury, need to begin treatment as quickly as possible after arrival,” said Anthony Lupetin, MD, FACR, the AHN radiologist who led the lifeIMAGE initiative at AHN. “lifeIMAGE allows AGH physicians to easily access patients’ images from community hospitals, saving time by eliminating the need to scan a CD, or perform repeat imaging in the event different systems are incompatible. Physicians can even look at a scan before arrival and decide that a transfer to AGH is unnecessary.”

The exchange of diagnostic medical images has traditionally been one of the most difficult aspects of sharing patient health records, for reasons that include extremely large file sizes, the need to maintain diagnostic quality during transport, and images that are scanned using a proprietary system. Images are frequently scanned onto CDs that the patients must bring with them to the trauma center.

“Through our partnership with lifeIMAGE, we can eliminate the need to perform costly and time-consuming repeat imaging, and also save patients from additional radiation exposure,” Dr. Lupetin said.

For more than ten years, lifeIMAGE has been building an interoperable medical information network connecting hospitals and physicians with imaging machines, storage databases, and EHRs. Today, the lifeIMAGE network connects over 1,400 facilities nationwide, including 7 of the top 10 hospitals. lifeIMAGE’s goal is to support a digitization and image exchange strategy that is easy to implement, easy to scale up, and easy to sustain.

“lifeIMAGE is the only technology platform with the ability to access all types and forms of medical imaging in addition to all types of medical data, routinely providing access to tens of millions of medical exam data monthly,” said lifeIMAGE President and CEO Matthew A. Michela. “lifeIMAGE provided access to 4 billion exams for providers, patients, and healthcare organizations over the last decade.”