DIAM benchmark helps guide adoption of imaging IT

2016 05 23 10 37 26 575 2016 05 23 Hit Insider

What's the best way to implement imaging IT at your institution? How can you optimally incorporate new technologies such as data analytics and radiomics? A new benchmark called the Digital Imaging Adoption Model (DIAM) has been created to help facilities gauge how well they are doing in terms of imaging IT adoption.

DIAM was jointly developed by Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Analytics in Europe and the European Society of Radiology (ESR) to aid organizations in planning and implementing imaging IT. DIAM follows a similar approach to the popular HIMSS Analytics Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM), which can be used by healthcare institutions to track and compare their progress with adopting EMR technologies over eight stages.

While also having eight stages, the DIAM focuses only on imaging IT. It also accounts for specific new imaging IT developments and challenges such as speech recognition, transition of reporting, analytics, quality benchmarking, and radiomics, etc., according to Isabel Vollrath, a consultant with HIMSS Analytics in Europe.

Participants complete a survey that gathers information on the current imaging IT environment at their institution. The DIAM survey enables institutions to utilize a structured approach for assessing imaging IT infrastructure, according to Dr. Peter Mildenberger, chairman of the ESR's subcommittee on professional issues and economics in radiology, as well as a professor of radiology at University Hospital Mainz in Germany.

"[This] information can be used in strategic planning for imaging IT development," Mildenberger said. "A DIAM-based evaluation of a departmental imaging IT [system] can [also] be used to discuss further requirements with the administration."

Key focus areas

The model is based on the 10 focus areas that HIMSS Analytics and the ESR consider to be essential to the digitization of imaging IT:

  • Software infrastructure
  • Health information exchange
  • Workflow and process security
  • Quality and safety management
  • Patient engagement
  • Clinical documentation
  • Clinical decision support
  • Pervasiveness of use
  • Advanced analytics
  • Personalized medicine

Each stage focuses on different imaging IT areas.

The Digital Imaging Adoption Model (DIAM) has eight stages. Chart courtesy of HIMSS Analytics.The Digital Imaging Adoption Model (DIAM) has eight stages. Chart courtesy of HIMSS Analytics.

A stage will be considered achieved if at least 70% of the requirements are fulfilled, Vollrath said.

"Due to the cumulative character, the basic requirements of the lower stages are relevant up to the top," Vollrath told AuntMinnieEurope.com. "It is not possible to reach higher stages without first satisfying the lower ones."

Levels 1 to 4 clearly describe a hierarchy for planning and implementing imaging IT, while levels 5 to 7 show different options for prioritization, Mildenberger said.

To reach stage 5, an institution is required to achieve at least one of the three possible specializations: advanced analytics and personalized medicine capabilities, clinical decision support and value-based imaging, or advanced health information exchange and patient engagement. Stage 6 requires two out of the three specializations, while all three must be achieved to reach stage 7.

After completing the DIAM survey, institutions will receive their individual DIAM score, recommendations for improvements including a roadmap for next investment opportunities, as well as performance indicators and benchmarks, Vollrath said.

The benchmarking is useful for understanding potential imaging IT deficits at institutions, Mildenberger said.

"This is worth to know about in principle, but especially for planning upgrades, e.g., to close open issues first before implementing new tools," he said.

Experts from HIMSS Analytics and the ESR will also be available to assist with imaging IT strategy development or education, according to HIMSS Analytics and the ESR.

In the long term, the model helps participating organizations to benchmark their own progress over time as well as in comparison to peers in the same region/country or even the rest of the world, Vollrath said.

The model also isn't too complicated to use, according to Mildenberger.

"Nothing special is required besides access to some basic information of organizational data and [the] IT itself," he said.

Current status

Initially announced at ECR 2016 in March, the DIAM is currently in a pilot phase at several organizations in Europe, Vollrath said.

The initial iteration of DIAM focuses on radiology imaging, but HIMSS Analytics said the survey can also easily be adapted in the future to measure and benchmark imaging IT in other imaging services such as cardiology, pathology, or dental care.

"We decided for this service-specific approach in order to adequately address the individual challenges of each service whilst keeping the assessment manageable," Vollrath said. "We are also planning to do the first pilots in non-European countries in the near future."

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