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Blog  –  08 April 2014

BridgeHead’s View: Key Trends in Health IT and What’s Coming in 2014

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By Kelly Baig
@KellyEHB
 

This week, I had the opportunity to sit down with Steve Matheson, BridgeHead’s VP of Product Management, and ask him for his view of BridgeHead’s recent product release. Steve shared his view of the key trends in health IT and what’s coming in 2014. Increasing patient-centric care with better access to all hospital data, combined with lowering the cost-basis for storing and retaining data for hospitals, are twin themes of the HDM 13b release which emerged during our conversation.

Q: What are we announcing in our HDM 13b product introduction, made this week?

Steve: BridgeHead is announcing version 13B of its Healthcare Data Management (HDM) Solution (which includes the HDM Platform and all agent components). BridgeHead aims to release new product twice a year. Hence, the 13b release includes the engineering work that took place in the second half of 2013.  The 13b release cycle contained over 350 individual developments and this announcement highlights the two most important: the DICOM Archive Browser and support for the SWIFT OpenStack standard.

Q. Why are you excited about this product introduction?

Steve: BridgeHead v13B is a first step towards a more robust patient-centric offering which we plan to introduce later this year, enabling clinicians to view all types of data associated with a patient from a single well-organized view. We are really excited by what we are seeing on this front, with some of our early beta trials at oncology centers in particular. There is a whole world of DICOM image management outside of radiology. Look for BridgeHead to help better address the needs of DICOM archive and retention, in not only in radiology but in additional ‘ologies across a hospital.

Q. Why is HDM 13b an important release? What are the key new features and capabilities of the solution?

Steve:  For PACS, it’s the DICOM Archive Browser (DAB) along with the pending new folder view within File Archiving Agent; these are examples of how the core data management platform has become a credible place to not only store the entire patient record but also now to access and manage it. The DAB is essentially an administrative tool to help ensure the validity of the DICOM archive. It allows an administrator to search the archive by key metadata (e.g. patient ID, Instance UID) and also use our XDS WADO interface to view any part of the series or study to ensure that data is stored within the archive.

Some of the key new capabilities which the DAB provides to health IT administrators include:

  • The DAB can be used to send any Study, Series or Image to any DICOM workstation allowing manual workflows to be constructed for ‘ologies where there is no automated PACS system.
  • Additionally, the DICOM Archive Browser helps manage IOCM activities in the archive. Information Object Change Management (IOCM) requests mean that some data stored in the archive is ‘hidden’ from general viewing, but an administrator needs to be able to determine this as it may not happen automatically.

In short, the DAB is a good indication of how BridgeHead is making the content that it Stores, Protects and Shares more accessible to the end user, and how we can add more value to any Patient Records initiative, by making content available to users or applications in an ordered manner. In a more general way, which may be even more important because of the interest that we are seeing in cloud storage for hospitals, our changes to increase cloud support options may be even more important. The 13b release introduces increased cloud support, most notably we are now supporting the open cloud storage standard SWIFT. SWIFT is an open object storage system managed by http://www.openstack.org/ and is helping software vendors and consumers alike, by providing a consistent interface to cloud resources.

Q. How does 13b enable BridgeHead hospitals to gain more benefits from cloud?

Steve:  As part of our continued cloud storage support we have added the ability to create offline copies of backup’s in the cloud. This means we are now able to use de-duplication technologies such as HP StoreOnce with our Catalyst integration, to perform very efficient transfer to the cloud and efficient storage in the cloud but at the same time create an offline, most likely tape, copy of the backup, in the cloud. This gives a hospital the efficiency of backup to cloud but at the same time having the copy of last resort often critical to their data protection and retention strategy.

Q. Why is SWIFT support important to healthcare IT directors?

Steve: Support for the SWIFT standard ensures that hospitals can future-proof their data platform and easily extend it to the cloud. Moreover, as a storage component of the OpenStack platform, SWIFT offers hospitals all the cost savings of open source software, a flexible ability to encompass both object and block storage on a single storage platform as well as the infinite scalability of the cloud. 
SWIFT offers cloud storage software so that you can store and retrieve lots of data with a simple API. It's built for scale and optimized for durability, availability, and concurrency across the entire data set. Swift is ideal for storing unstructured data that can grow without bound.
We’ve seen our integration partners embrace SWIFT rapidly, as SWIFT lowers their costs enabling them, in turn, to offer lower price-points to our mutual customers. So, with the addition of SWIFT support in version 13b, BridgeHead software extends its long-term platform-agnostic policy to embrace the newest and very fast-growing OpenStack platform. BridgeHead’s SWIFT integration will make it easy for hospitals to incorporate lower-cost, scalable Cloud storage into their data protection strategy.

Q. How does HDM 13b fit into the overall BridgeHead mission/framework?

Steve:  Version 13b complements BridgeHead Software’s core mission to help hospitals “Store, Protect and Share” the tsunami of data they create and own. Helping hospitals improve access to their valuable data resource had always been a priority for BridgeHead Software. The 13b release continues this vision with many improvements to the core HDM Solution – the most notable being the new DICOM Archive Browser and the new ability to integrate with the SWIFT storage and the OpenStack platform.

Q. Where can people go to find more information about the HDM 13b release?

Steve: I’d suggest that BridgeHead customers start with the 13b Release Announcement document to find a comprehensive description of everything that is new in the solution. From there, I’d suggest that they take a look at our recorded demo of the DICOM Archive Browser interface, if they are interested. We can also introduce them to an integrator supporting SWIFT with BridgeHead.

For new hospitals considering BridgeHead, I’d suggest a read through the DICOM Archiving Agent datasheet as a good place to start. For a bit of a higher-level description of our VNA solution, I’d recommend our VNA White Paper. Also, we’re also open to respond to inquiries via email at: info@BridgeHeadSoftware.com.

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