Stepping into the Spotlight
Jason Nagels, an advocate for quality healthcare, has spent the past decade working with Hospital Diagnostic Imaging Repository Services (HDIRS), a provincial diagnostic imaging repository in Ontario. Nationally, Jason is the current chair of Infoway’s Diagnostic Imaging community, a group exploring imaging topics to accelerate clinical interoperability, such as Foreign Exam Management, Remote Reading and Radiology Synoptic Reporting in addition to serving as Canada’s liaison with DICOM® (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine), the international standard to transmit, store, retrieve, print, process, and display medical imaging information.
Radiology represents just one set of imaging within a healthcare enterprise. The group is expanding its focus to help us identify challenges that the community can work on in areas such as wound care, dermatology, point of care ultrasound, and digital pathology.
Jason is an active member of the Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine (SIIM), a co-host of the SIIMCast podcast and has published multiple articles in the Journal of Digital Imaging. In October 2018, Jason was selected to be part of the RAD-AID Global Ambassador Program and was sent to Accra, Ghana to help implement a Radiology Information System at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.
We connected with Jason about his role in the Diagnostic Imaging community and hear his thoughts on how the community is helping to improve patient care and make health care more efficient.
Why do you believe in digital health?
In 2004, my mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and was referred from her community hospital to receive treatment at the Odette Cancer Center at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. At that time, the ability to share patient information across different health organizations was very limited. Sharing diagnostic images meant my mother had to bring a CD that contained studies captured at her community hospital to the Odette Cancer Centre. I saw firsthand the increased stress put on a patient when the Oncologist can’t access the images from the CD and the patient needs to be re-scanned, or sent home.
We've come a long way since 2004, yet there is still a lot to improve upon when it comes to digital health. Knowing that the DI community has contributed to improving digital health and help standardize the ability to share diagnostic imaging records has been very rewarding!
Why should people care about the Diagnostic Imaging community?
The work developed in the DI community has had a direct impact on advancing interoperability and improving patient care.
The ability to seamlessly share and exchange diagnostic images and reports with clinical users across a patient’s course of treatment is a vital part of providing quality care - eventually, we are all patients, and the desire for clinical users to access our longitudinal diagnostic imaging history will apply to all of us and our loved ones.
Standards and interoperability are the key ingredients that make exchanging information possible. Recently the DI community drafted an Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) profile proposal that provides a standard approach to sharing outside images and reports that did not originate from within the local enterprise.
Why is the community changing its name from Diagnostic Imaging to Enterprise Imaging?
Over the past number of years, the primary focus of the community has been on radiology workflow. But radiology represents just one set of imaging within a healthcare enterprise. The group is expanding its focus to help us identify challenges that the community can work on in areas such as wound care, dermatology, point of care ultrasound, and digital pathology. We expect that these other imaging domains will create a lot of opportunities in the long-term activity of the community and help to improve digital health in Canada.
What are the 2019-20 goals for the Diagnostic Imaging community?
Today many organizations have achieved foundational interoperability with the ability to share images and reports across disparate organizations; however, exchanging data in a meaningful way can be a challenge when there isn’t a standardized lexicon for body part and procedure description.
The community is currently focused on improving semantic interoperability and looking at opportunities through structuring the data exchange and standardization of common terminology through mappings and machine learning.
How do members of the Diagnostic Imaging community contribute to digital health innovation in Canada?
The community brings together physicians, vendors, hospital admins, etc. to identify challenges that can be improved upon through standards development and education. All are welcome.
There are monthly meetings that occur the second Friday of every month at 12pm - 1pm Eastern Standard Time. The DI community is only as strong as the people that participate in it. We seek input from all individuals’ viewpoints to develop standards, whitepapers, and educational webinars. Having a variety of perspectives allows the community to ensure that the content developed is meaningful to everyone working across the digital health spectrum.
Can you share a fun fact about you?
When I’m not involved in imaging informatics, I like to spend time with my family. We recently got back from a trip to Vancouver and Whistler and enjoyed the beauty of our country, and getting to bike ride through the Rockies.
The Diagnostic Imaging community meets on the second Friday of the month with the next meeting on Friday, October 11 at noon EST. Join the community to get involved and receive email notifications of all DI community posts.
Do you have an idea or question that you want to share with diagnostic and enterprise imaging professionals? Post it in the Diagnostic Imaging forum and get the conversation started.