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Life Image: Enterprise image exchange
September 01, 2022

LVHN Improves Health Care Delivery Through Innovative Image Exchange Solutions

Lehigh Valley Health Network Advances Health Care Efficiency by Integrating Image Exchange With Its EHR System


BOSTON, MA – September 1, 2022 Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) has improved its image exchange efficiency and capability through its evolving partnership with Life Image, the world’s largest image exchange and medical evidence network. These efficiencies have supported time savings for LVHN patients and care teams.

In the summer of 2021, LVHN engaged Life Image as its enterprise partner in its mission to establish a digital system for securely exchanging images and accompanying reports – both within the LVHN network and with some of its referring facilities. LVHN chose Life Image’s Interoperability Suite as its image-sharing toolset, a hybrid on-premise and cloud solution.

The Interoperability Suite comprises a set of vendor-agnostic tools that enables the efficient exchange, evaluation, and storage of images. Connectivity is standards based and interoperable, regardless of the imaging modality, imaging device manufacturer, storage system, or electronic health record (EHR) system involved.

Moving to a Digital Solution

Despite its inefficiencies, some healthcare providers continue to use CDs and other physical media as the primary means of sharing images with other providers and patients. This outdated method leads to accessibility issues, repeat imaging because of lost or forgotten CDs, and significant, sometimes life-threatening delays in care.

The success LVHN has had with image sharing is due to the Life Image solution and also to LVHN’s commitment to actively promoting the efficient and timely adoption and utilization of the Suite.

“LVHN is committed to supporting the sharing of patient data with other care providers as patients travel through the care continuum to get care,” noted Mike Minear, Senior Vice President and CIO of LVHN.

LVHN has continued to work with Life Image throughout their partnership to optimize its image exchange capabilities. This includes developing specialized workflows and a system-wide reporting service, which includes daily updates on utilization traffic — where it’s coming from, where it’s going, and how the images are being shared.

Most recently, LVHN became one of the first Life Image customers to integrate its image exchange functionality with its Epic EHR system. Many advantages are inherent to the unification of Life Image’s image exchange functionality with the Epic system. These benefits include a single workflow for accessing internal and external exams and images and the ability of every member of LVHN’s care teams to view a patient’s complete imaging history at any time.

The Epic integration has also enabled LVHN to take advantage of Life Image’s ability to automate the entry of medical orders, further enhancing operational efficiency. This automation feature ingests and commits outside imaging studies to patient records within the EHR, with ingested studies automatically normalized with LVHN’s identifiers for unique patient information. Imaging orders are then generated within the EHR, auto-nominated, and transferred to LVHN’s PACS, the hospital network’s image archiving system.

“Everyone at Life Image is thrilled to be able to work with innovative providers such as LVHN,” noted Matthew A. Michela, President & CEO of Life Image. “We are thrilled to see such impressive adoption of the technology, driven by an organization that sees the benefits to patient care from accelerating access to patient data, regardless of whether it resides inside the institution or anywhere in the community.”

Within days of turning on the order entry automation, LVHN frontline staff recognized its potential for substantial time savings. Since inception, 31,957+ images have been exchanged.

Advancing Through Innovation

This dedication to improving its image exchange process and the corresponding positive results are emblematic of LVHN’s overall mission to continuously improve the way it delivers health care, often through innovative means.

LVHN was recognized in 2020 and 2021 by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives as a Level 10 Most Wired health care organization – the highest level an organization can earn – for acute and ambulatory care. Only 15 organizations nationwide achieved Level 10 in 2021. In 2020, LVHN was one of only eight organizations to achieve Level 10.

Success in digital health care practices is a key determiner of health care quality overall, from the perspective of the patient and the provider. The breadth of the impact can be seen in the numerous other recognitions that LVHN has received.

• Magnet Recognition is the most prestigious nursing designation a hospital can earn. Only 8% of hospitals in the nation have earned Magnet recognition, and LVHN is the only healthcare organization in the Lehigh Valley to hold this honor.
• The Leapfrog Group named Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest a Top Teaching Hospital for achievements in patient safety and quality.
• LVHN has been certified as a Best Workplace in Health Care & Biopharma™ by Fortune magazine.
• For 2022-23, Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest was once again named as Lehigh Valley’s number one regional hospital and a top ten hospital in Pennsylvania on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals list. This is the ninth straight year Lehigh Valley Hospital has been ranked first by U.S. News, which also has recognized the hospital nationally among America’s Best Hospitals in various medical specialties 24 times since 1996.

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About Lehigh Valley Health Network
Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) includes 13 hospital campuses; 28 health centers; numerous primary and specialty care physician practices; 20 ExpressCARE locations, including the area’s only Children’s ExpressCARE; pharmacy, imaging, home health, rehabilitation, and lab services; and preferred provider services through Valley Preferred. Additional information is available by visiting LVHN.org.

About Life Image
Life Image is the world’s largest medical evidence network providing access to points of care and curated clinical and imaging data. Founded in 2008, Life Image has created a digital platform using industry-leading interoperability standards to connect 13,000 facilities with more than 160,000 U.S. providers and 58,000 global clinics.