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Multiple organizations from a growing base of more than 300 RIS, PACS and RIS/PACS customers have yielded positive business, financial and customer service results from the Merge eMed's Referring Practice Portal software application.

Business and clinical imaging center executives say the Web-based solution is critical to building revenues, enhancing services to referring physicians and attracting more referrals because it speeds delivery of imaging and reporting results to referring physicians and ties together previously disparate patient data. The solution enhances productivity within the imaging center and the referring practice by reducing tasks associated with delayed delivery of results or lost images, and providing a comprehensive view of current and historical patient information in a single, easy-to-use interface.

Michele Lee, administrator of Abilene Imaging Center, quantifies new business tied directly to Merge's RIS/PACS solution and its Referring Practice Portal. "An oncology group heard about the portal, then saw it, and started sending patients," Lee states. "This practice alone has increased our PETscan volume by 20%." Lee says her center has dramatically reduced faxing, image printing to film and CD, and phone calls from physician offices. "From a single screen, users can view or print their own images and reports, move data to an electronic medical record, review priors, track schedules, and more," added Lee.

"We deliver reports and images in near real-time, along with additional data that's useful to referrers," says Tim Chavez, executive director of West Coast Radiology, a multi-site imaging center serving Orange County California, where nearly 300 referrers now use the portal. "It's all about productivity -- for us and for our referrers. We give doctors and their staff the information they need -- when and where they want it. It's helped us solidify existing relationships and add new referrers. Once doctors see the efficiency, they realize it translates to improved patient service and financial savings for them. This has helped us raise the bar. Without a portal, an imaging center is not competing at its highest level. Doctors will likely think twice about referring to a facility that doesn't offer electronic access to images and reports via a portal."

Merge eMed's Referring Practice Portal gives instant, secure access to radiology reports, images, patient data, and scheduling information from any internet-connected computer. In most settings, it replaces faxing or courier distribution and their associated costs and frustrations.

"The portal ties RIS and PACS data together nicely by giving a snapshot of historical data for a specific patient, not just a single occurrence," Lee says. "Referrers view images using the same tools as our radiologists, which is helpful if clarification is needed. Specialists like the ability to see histories for new patients. Office staffs like tracking patient status to coordinate schedules."

Lee says the portal is more functional and easier to use than Web-based systems offered by competitors. "In a few hours at a physician office, we configure computers, set up permissions and take staff on a brief walk-through of the system. It's so intuitive; many are using it immediately without further training."

"I call our portal the ribbon around the gift," says Chavez, when describing its deployment in late 2005 following previous installation of Merge RIS and PACs systems.

Chavez has leveraged Merge eMed's offerings to optimize the system as a marketing tool, including quick, easy customization of the interface with West Coast's brand, and use of direct mail materials from the Referring Practice Portal Marketing Toolkit. Chavez benefits from the system's array of administrative functionality, including usage reporting. "I can see who's actually using it," he states. "In just a few months we've had more than 5,000 hits. Think of the reduced number of phone calls and faxes that translates into."

"Merge is very pleased to see highly favorable outcomes from our Referring Practice Portal," says David Noshay, president, Merge eMed. "Our customers' business needs are driving the evolution of a new age of medical imaging. The Referring Practice Portal is aligned with those business needs, along with the comprehensive solutions that bring together RIS, PACS, clinical applications and solid expertise in integration."

Merge Healthcare is a market leader in the development and delivery of medical imaging and information management software and services. Their software solutions use leading- edge imaging software technologies that accelerate market delivery for their OEM customers, while their end-user solutions improve their customers' productivity and enhance the quality of patient care they provide.

Merge eMed a Merge Healthcare company, is focused on accelerating productivity for radiology departments and specialty practices, imaging centers and hospitals. By combining sophisticated RIS, PACS, advanced visualization and clinical imaging applications, Merge eMed delivers integrated end-to-end software solutions and professional services that are transforming the way customers interact with referring physicians, manage their workflow, position their businesses in their markets and deliver imaging and information services to their customers.

Merge eMed can be found on the World Wide Web at

For more information, call 414/977-4254.
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Publication:Online Product News
Date:May 1, 2006

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