Health IT: Combating the VHS zombie in ultrasound

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Saúde ELE: Combatendo o zombi de VHS no ultrasound

por Lida D' Ambrosio, Sony Electronic Inc. | November 25, 2011
From the November 2011 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

You might have thrown out the VHS player at home, but it still survives for some in ultrasound.

From the highest levels of government to local diagnostic imaging centers, everyone is trying to find the right solutions for achieving the creation, secure storage and transmission of patient health information. So it’s stunning to think that of all the ultrasound and endoscopy exams performed each year, a significant percentage are still being created and stored on VHS.

While many consumers made the switch at from VHS to DVD recorders years ago, the choice has not been so prevalent or easy for health care. The good news is that the digital revolution and transition to a digital recording format in the medical environment is gaining momentum. More facilities are beginning to use digital medical systems, which have finally taken the place of antiquated, analog technology, and physicians, hospitals and imaging centers are following suit.

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When making the switch to DVD recording, here are some important points to consider:

Superior picture and sound quality. This is a “must have” when using the best medical diagnostic equipment. VHS simply cannot match the quality of DVDs, which are virtually impervious to climate, dust, playback wear and magnetic fields from electrical equipment. Additionally, a DVD player never “eats” the DVDs it’s playing, as sometimes happens with tapes. An eaten home video is an inconvenience; but it can be much more costly and detrimental when the critical part of a patient’s record is destroyed.

Improved workflow and increased productivity. There’s no need to slowly rewind and forward — DVDs allow for quick review of recorded video, saving the physician or technologist precious time. Information can easily be copied with virtually no loss of quality, so records can be quickly and easily shared with specialists, primary care physicians or the patients themselves. It is also important to use a recorder with a built in hard driveLower cost and added convenience. Compared to VHS, DVD offers superior shelf life in the digital format. Today’s medical environments are constantly overcrowded with storage libraries, sometimes with stockpiles of SVHS tapes. DVD frees up that space to be used for additional exam rooms or other potential revenue generation, and it also provides much easier access of data. The recorders themselves are much more compact than the old bulky SVHS players/recorders, which are a perfect fit with the dramatically smaller medical systems. DVD media store a far greater volume of data and the same storage is quicker and more robust. For added convenience, DVD recorders do not require a proprietary media, so virtually any brand should work.

Added value for patients. The post-recording options are just as easy. DVDs can be reviewed in a personal PC or consumer-type DVD player, making review accessible at any time or place. This is especially beneficial to expecting parents who can view their unborn baby and have the DVD as a keepsake and method of sharing the video with loved ones.

Digital technology should be an integral part of the medical practice. The level of technology used today plays a part in every patient’s future – it’s a part of their medical record and diagnostic history beyond the exam itself. There is little reason to continue with an old format such as SVHS when the market has demanded the change to digital, providing high quality, affordable and convenient methods for making the switch.

Lida D'Ambrosio is the marketing manager for radiology at Sony Electronics Professional Solutions of America in the medical division based in Park Ridge, NJ.

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