For the second consecutive year, Digisonics achieved Best in KLAS for Cardiology in 2009, validating its status as the top-rated cardiovascular software solution in the world. According to the 2009 Best in KLAS Awards: Software & Professional Services report (www.KLASresearch.com), Digisonics received an overall score approximately five points higher than its nearest competitors. In addition, Digisonics was the only vendor out of 11 that achieved a positive rating percentage increase in 2009. Such great technological advances broaden the spectrum of the possible. They change people’s lives. The Digisonics system is one such evolution: its remote reading capability simultaneously improves the quality of physicians’ professional care and the quality of their personal lives.
Forty-seven-year-old Theodore Richard Lieux, MD, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is one person who has experienced the benefits of the Digisonics remote reading feature. He is an internist with an independent multispecialty group of 87 doctors, and he reads cardiology studies for the group. Dr Lieux is married and he and his wife have four children ranging in age from eight to 16 years, and it is not always easy for him to balance competing family and professional responsibilities, especially with recent reimbursement cuts. On Friday afternoons, Dr Lieux tries to break free of the clinic and devote himself to his children’s activities. Unfortunately, it is quite common for someone to come into the clinic that afternoon complaining of chest pain. The clinic administers a treadmill stress echo test and notifies Dr Lieux, who might be watching a child’s sporting event or theatrical performance. “I’ve always wondered why so many people get sick on Friday afternoons,” he laments, but instead of admitting the patient or rushing back to the clinic, as he would have had to do in the past, Dr Lieux finds a quiet spot and uses his laptop and cell phone combination to remotely log into the Digisonics system, read the test, write and proof a report, and pass it to the primary care physician. “Usually, I can get the results back to the clinic in 10 or 20 minutes, which is about as fast as I’d be able to do it if I were actually in the clinic. If it’s negative, we’re 90% certain it’s not a heart attack and that person doesn’t need to be admitted. It keeps people out of the hospital, and that keeps costs down.”
Professional responsibility covered, Dr Lieux returns his attention to his child’s event. The number of cardiology studies he reads varies greatly; backlogs sometimes accumulate. The Digisonics system allows him to leave his office at the end of a normal working day and spend time with his wife and children he would not otherwise be able to enjoy. He gets up early and clears his backlog by reading from home before his family wakes.
Digisonics’ remote reading capability has freed his family to travel. He has used the system to read studies from Yosemite National Park, Boston, Washington, DC, and Baltimore. He simply signs in remotely—with cell phone service or from a coffee shop, hotel room, or friend’s house with high-speed Internet access—reads the required studies, makes his reports, and passes the results to his fellow doctors in Louisiana. It is fast, efficient, and accurate, and “it improves the quality of my personal life and the quality of my patient care. Really, there is no compromise.”
Incidentally, none of Digisonics’ competitors delivers the full benefit of remote reading. Competitive systems require downloading the full study prior to reading—impossibly slow if you are at a soccer game, and an annoying delay many hurried cardiologists will not tolerate regardless of the circumstances. Digisonics provides streaming image review: physicians can begin reading over the Internet as soon as they click a study, and all Digisonics features function remotely, with analysis, electronic signatures, and instant distribution to all concerned parties.
George Rizk, MD, a 52-year-old cardiologist with a private practice in Prescott, Arizona, concurs with Dr Lieux’s assessment of the benefits of remote reading. On average, he reads 10 studies a day. He tries to get through them before leaving his office, a task he is not always able to accomplish. Without the Digisonics remote reading capability, he would have to sacrifice family time and finish at the office. Now, he goes home at a reasonable hour, spends evenings with his wife and children, and catches up with his reading in his home office after the kids are in bed.
Previous systems made it nearly impossible for him to take long vacations. Being absent for a week paralyzed his practice. “I have a busy schedule for studies and stress tests, and I just couldn’t do them when I was away. The old system of FedEx videotape delivery and telephone dictation or cassettes and Dictaphones was a nightmare. Now, I just sign in from wherever I am and do my reading. It’s easy, it’s fast, and it’s less error-prone. If a physician needs a study read while I’m out of town, I’m able to provide him with instantly responsive care.”
Even more amazing are a pair of anecdotes from Kalyana Sundaram, MD, of Cedar Valley Medical Specialists in Waterloo, Iowa, and Cem Nasuhoglu, MD, one of the leading pediatric cardiologists in West Texas. Dr Sundaram was in India recently, and he kept up with his patient load from the other side of the world. Reading remotely via the Internet, he read and reported on more than 100 studies every day. Dr Nasuhoglu’s pediatric cardiology practice serves three hospitals, and he loves the flexibility Digisonics adds to his life. Last summer, he was reading studies on a three-week vacation with his wife and four children in the mountains of Turkey above the Mediterranean coast.
The bottom line is simple: easy, fast, flexible access to information improves patient care and improves the quality of physicians’ lives, and Digisonics delivers those benefits better than anybody else in the industry. It is no wonder then that an outstanding 75% of DigiView software customers believe the product has all of the functionality it needs, surpassing its nearest competitor by 25%, according to KLAS. “Remote reading is a blessing that helps patients and physicians,” Dr Rizk laughs, “but the person who loves it most is my wife.”