US-based Mach7 Technologies, a global provider of healthcare enterprise image management systems and services, has developed new technology that allows clinicians to incorporate images and unstructured clinical information captured by mobile devices into electronic heath records (EHRs).

The recently patented iModality mobile application enables clinicians to securely capture medical imaging data, such as photos, videos and notes, using an internet enabled handheld device, like a smartphone or tablet.

The captured images are then sent to Mach7’s Enterprise Imaging Platform, from where they can be accessed via links within the patient’s electronic medical record (EMR).

According to Chief Technology Officer at Mach7, Eric Rice, iModality was developed in response to the growing use of mobile devices by healthcare staff to deliver care and quickly capture images, which is especially helpful in specialities like dermatology and wound care.

However, such images are not typically of diagnostic quality or based upon traditional imaging standards, such as Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM), “There’s a big gap around how do we manage all those unstructured clinical images,” said Rice.

According to Rice, iModality is able to accept common image and media files that don’t meet standards used in clinical settings. For example, it can store jpeg-based photos or Quicktime video files.

“There’s also been a lot of interest in using hand held devices in emergency rooms. If a patient comes in showing signs of a stroke, they can use a video to record behaviour or physical effects, upload it, and then it’s available through the EHR,” said Rice.

“Once it’s in an EHR, an off-site physician can look at it. That’s important, because in treating stroke, time is of the essence,” continued Rice.

Rice added that mobile devices may also help caregivers become more efficient in how they provide day-to-day care for patients. “Beyond just taking images or using a mobile device for dictating notes and taking video, there are a lot of capabilities in mobile devices. We’re looking at all kinds of ideas and opportunities to expand on it,” concluded Rice.

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