So, you upgraded to a Cloud based solution, but you realized that your bandwidth is simply too slow for you to really reap all the benefits associated with the Cloud. What now? Well, lucky for you it is 2018 and technology has an answer for everything. The best way to optimize your current solution is to go hybrid.
What is A Hybrid Solution?
A hybrid solution combines the benefits associated with the Cloud and a local medical imaging solution. So, you get long term storage and image retrieval when you need it, where you need it. Essentially, when you initially process a patient’s image, you upload them to the Cloud. It’s still the same first step. Nothing changes. However, if you have low bandwidth the biggest problem you are coming across is having access to those images when you need them. That could be when you are meeting with a patient to go over their results. Insufficient bandwidth can turn this into a time-consuming process, which overall can lead to a clogged up workflow for your practice. The longer you spend with patients due to waiting for images to be pulled from the Cloud, the more time you are taking away from those waiting to see you in the lobby. It also makes you push your schedule and that of your staff back, which leads to paying out overtime and overhead costs. Overall, if you do not have up to par Internet speed, you will be spending more money than anticipated.
That being said, with a hybrid solution you won’t use the Cloud to pull images when seeing a patient. For that, we suggest utilizing a pre-fetch through a mini PACS. Basically, if you know you have an appointment at 10am with Jane Doe to go over her Head CT, you can alert your mini PACS (a local image router device) to do a pre-fetch from the Cloud prior to her arrival. Do this with all of your patients for the day. This will allow you to immediately pull up the relevant studies from the mini PACS without having to wait needlessly for your Internet speed to slow down your entire day.
How Do I Go Hybrid?
Here are some suggestions as to how to get started on a hybrid solution implementation:
1. Talk to your vendor.
Reach out to your existing Cloud vendor or PACS administrator. They most likely have experience setting up hybrid implementations for numerous clients. You’ll be surprised by how much money you end up saving by getting the right implementation for your infrastructure. Want to save even more? While you’re at it, make sure that you have the right size PACS for your business. You might be spending too much for space you don’t need.
2. Do your research.
If your provider does not offer a hybrid solution, don’t fret! You have a lot of options out there. Do your research and look into various providers. Make sure that their solutions are diagnostically approved on the devices you will be using, because not all viewers have accreditation. Additionally, be sure to tell your new vendor candidates if you have a preferred open source DICOM viewer that you want to continue using. In fact, we have a whole list of questions you should always ask your vendor before signing on the dotted line.
3. Talk to your Internet provider.
It is possible that your Internet connection has just been set up wrong. Before attempting to go hybrid, give your Internet provider a call to see if they can speed up your bandwidth. If they can, you might be able to continue using a Cloud based solution. However, we always recommend running those numbers past your vendor just to make sure your solution will be able to run optimally. Always get as much information as possible when it comes to running your business right.
Stop letting low bandwidth slow your business down. One simple fix could start saving you money immediately. Reap the benefits of the Cloud as well as a local solution by going Hybrid. Most vendors offer this implementation, so give yours a call to see what your options are. In no time at all you can start optimizing your workflow, seeing more patients, and not having to wait for images to load on your browser window.