The Avera Heart Hospital of South Dakota has a new tool to help cardiologists do their jobs even better and gives patients a faster diagnosis. The new software that's been installed could help patients all over the Avera Network, not just in Sioux Falls.
Heart Labs is a digital cardiology imaging network. One of the tests we saw was a two dimensional moving image of a patients angiogram and angioplasty. You could see the vessels on the surface of a beating heart. Cardiologist Dr. Tom Isaacson with North Central Heart Institute loves the new software.
He says, "All the work we do in the cath lab, angiograms, stent procedures... anything as far as vascular goes... we now view only through a digital medium."
And all of that information can be stored and used in the future securely.
Nick Liesinger with the Heart Hospital's IT department says, "The Avera Network is a secure network. It's not an open network. That's probably the first thing people would want to know about."
Dr. Isaacson says, "The advantage to us is that it's on one format right here. I can pull up whatever I need to do to do my work. To look at these studies (a person's tests) and examine them. Now lets say they just did an angiogram at Avera McKennan Hospital and my partner who doesn't do fixing like I do calls me and says, Tom, will you look at that? So I get on a computer and we look at it together from two different buildings."
The evolution of how cardiologists have reviewed the film of their heart patients actually started with 33mm film. It progressed to half inch tape on VHS. They would actually have to send the tapes in the mail delaying your diagnosis not to mention treatment.
Dr. Isaacson says, "It enhances my ability to deliver care in the moment. Deliver care, if you will, in that moment of care. I don't have to say I'll get back to you cause I have to get the tape or send a tape and review. I will be able to do it right now through this mechanism."
Because the Heart Hospital and Avera McKennan Hospital are also wireless, the surgeon can now pull up the tests on their laptop, walk in to the waiting room and show the patients family what just happened in surgery. Everyone is in the know faster.
For more information go to www.avera.org