Article Date: 10/1/2009

Wills Eye Chooses EyeRoute Image Management

Wills Eye Chooses EyeRoute Image Management

The system has improved the hospital's operational efficiency and will facilitate global community outreach.

This summer, the world renowned Wills Eye Institute opened a new state-of-the-art Diagnostic Testing Center at its downtown Philadelphia headquarters (Figures 1 and 2). The center consolidates the hospital's substantial diagnostic imaging capabilities, which previously had been spread throughout the building's 8 stories. Now, more than 30 diagnostic instruments not only physically reside in one place. They are also digitally linked via the EyeRoute® ophthalmic image management system (Topcon Medical Systems Inc.).

Figures 1 and 2. Julia Monsonego, CRA (left), Elizabeth Affel, MS, OCT-C, and Kristin Schmidt work at the Wills Eye Institute Diagnostic Testing Center in Philadelphia. Reports and images from more than 30 instruments from various manufacturers are integrated into the EyeRoute ophthalmic image management system (Topcon Medical Systems Inc.).

EyeRoute acquires images and reports from all of the instruments and integrates them into a single secure digital environment. As such, doctors can access patient data from any computer or web-enabled device at any time. EyeRoute maximizes the functionality of the Diagnostic Testing Center by replacing what had become a cumbersome filing system and eliminating the ever-present and costly task of faxing and mailing test results.

"EyeRoute made an immediate difference in terms of efficiency," says Julia A. Haller, MD, Ophthalmologist-in-Chief at Wills Eye. "Technicians used to spend hours and hours every day trafficking diagnostic testing results. Any time results were needed, they would have to stop what they were doing, locate and save the appropriate scans, print them and fax or mail them to the requesting physician or patient. It is amazing that we can bypass all of that by having all of the information go directly into EyeRoute, so the technician can simply move on to the next patient."

The streamlining of patient care made possible by EyeRoute extends beyond in-house technicians and physicians to the large number of outside entities that work in conjunction with Wills. Hundreds of referring and affiliate doctors, including those working in the institute's network of surgicenters, have the same instant access to the results of tests they have ordered. They can simply log into the Wills system via the secure online connection to retrieve what they need.

"We were very impressed with the ease of manipulating the images, the flexibility of the system in its ability to interface with all of our instruments, as well as electronic medical records, and the willingness of the company to customize a solution for how we work here at Wills."

Julia A. Haller, MD
Ophthalmologist-in-Chief
Wills Eye Institute, Philadelphia

A CUSTOMIZED SOLUTION

Wills chose Topcon's EyeRoute image management system over less recognized options for several reasons, Dr. Haller says. "We were very impressed with the ease of manipulating the images, the flexibility of the system in its ability to interface with all of our instruments, as well as electronic medical records, and the willingness of the company to customize a solution for how we work here at Wills."

Ryan Burke, Topcon's national sales manager for informatics, elaborated on the Wills project. "They have a technically complex arrangement of individual networks within the walls of Wills Eye. With traditional review software packages, this would prove to be a very challenging configuration to deploy. However, because EyeRoute is Internet browser-based, it is able to transcend across multiple networks effectively and efficiently," Burke says. "Furthermore, EyeRoute utilizes a combination of the latest local and centralized servers to maximize valuable network bandwidth, while still providing optimized loading speed and quality."

The user login page is also part of the customization (Figure 3). It bears the Wills Eye Institute Diagnostic Testing Center logo, along with some basic information, such as contact information and hours of operation. The page serves as a branding tool and allows Wills to add links to any additional information it chooses. For example, the page will eventually provide access to the Wills Eye Knowledge Portal, an education initiative that will launch in the coming months. The portal will offer online lectures, surgical videos, continuing medical education, case studies and more — all aimed at improving educational opportunities for the institute's medical students, residents and fellows, and making the Wills academic experience accessible worldwide. The portal will be gradually expanded to include patient education resources, too.

Figure 3. Access to all of the Wills Eye Institute's patient diagnostic information integrated by the EyeRoute ophthalmic image management system begins at the customized login page.

PLATFORM FOR THE FUTURE

The Wills Eye Knowledge Portal is just one example of how the EyeRoute image management system plays a role in enhancing current and future efforts in patient care, education and research, Dr. Haller said. EyeRoute supports the expansion of the Wills Eye local, regional and international physician community in a variety of ways. It is being used in the institute's new training program for the U.S. Department of Defense. The program is designed to keep military eyecare providers abreast of the latest developments in technology and the diagnosis and treatment of ocular disorders.

EyeRoute is also a crucial component in Wills Eye telemedicine initiatives. Dr. Haller said Wills already has ophthalmic diagnostic equipment placed in local medical clinics, and there are plans to conduct more population-based eye health screenings in underserved segments of the greater Philadelphia area. "EyeRoute fits into all of these places," Dr. Haller says. "In addition to making us much more efficient operationally at home, it will facilitate research, education and worldwide interaction for us." RP



Retinal Physician, Issue: October 2009