For the last two weeks at work, I've been working on a new team, developing an application called Rialto Consult. For those of you that are curious, you can read about it here.
Basically, the application allows physicians in one physical location to create radiology orders at a different location. One typical use case could be something like this: Hospital A runs a 24/7 radiology reading service. Hospital B, C, ... , Z have 24/7 emergency response departments, but unfortunately they don't have any radiologists on site overnight. So while these hospitals can capture radiology images, they do not have anyone to read them. Thankfully, Hospital A wants to offer their radiology reading service to these other hospitals. Right now, the workflow goes something like this: Someone comes into Hospital B at 2AM with some emergency. The hospital decides that they need some images taken and read. Once the hospital captures the images, they will fax an order over to Hospital A. Assuming Hospital A gets the order without any problems (fax machines suck), their radiologists will start reading the images. Often, having access to previous images ("relevant priors") is very useful, so the radiologist calls Hospital B and requests some images. These are sent over. Once the radiologist has enough information, they'll read the images and write(or more likely, dictate) a report summarizing their findings. That report gets faxed back to Hosptial A, where they decided what to do next. The whole process is complex, unreliable, and slow.
Now with Rialto Consult, the workflow becomes much more seamless. In many ways, the experience is indistinguishable from both parties being in the same physical building, even if they're in different cities (or even countries!). Essentially Consult offers a shared worklist. Both hospitals see the same worklist of radiology orders and their states in the workflow. When Hospital B wants a read done, they simply create an order in the system. That order is automatically sent electronically to Hospital A, along with a summary of the patient's history (including those very useful relevant prior images). Hospital A can then view the images, see the patient's medical history, and get relevant prior images. The radiologist can do all this from their workstation without having to call anyone. The radiologist's report is also automatically transfered to the original hospital, where they are notified of the results immediately. The entire process is much simpler, more reliable, and more cost effective.
The software is very cool and solves a real problem in the industry. The specific section I've been working has to do with audit records. When anyone does anything with the system or your patient information, an audit record is generated. There might be as many as 40 audit records generated for one patient to go through the workflow I described above, so you can imagine that there are literally millions of these records to deal with. I was working on a system to store and display these records in an intelligent way.
Okay. Maybe I should actually work on that work report now instead of randomly blogging. :P