Cardiac Imaging Technology at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Sibley Heart Center, Marietta, Georgia, and CardioStreamâ„¢, Alpharetta, Georgia

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Sibley Heart Center, Marietta, Georgia, and CardioStreamâ„¢, Alpharetta, Georgia

Nine-year-old Miriam Rouse has had quite a remarkable medical journey in her short life. She was born with DiGeorge Syndrome, or Velocardiofacial Syndrome, which is a rare immunodeficiency disorder characterized by various congenital abnormalities that develop because of defects that occur during early fetal development. Typical symptoms include a heart defect, cleft lip and palate, speech disorder, and dental problems (among other conditions). At just seven months, Miriam had her first open-heart surgery, and had another surgery at age 5. In between craniofacial and dental surgeries at Children’s Center for Craniofacial Disorders, she began check-ups with Children's Sibley Heart Center cardiologist, William Mahle, MD, to ensure the heart repairs were holding up. A Continuum of Care Miriam attends cardiac-related appointments with Dr. Mahle at the Sibley Heart Center Cardiology location in Marietta, Georgia. This practice recently implemented CardioStream, a new technology that allows providers to share cardiac imaging electronically from any location. The Web-based clinical review software allows physicians at our Sibley Heart Center Cardiology satellite locations to retrieve, review and diagnose patients’ echocardiogram (echo) studies from any Web-enabled computer. Beyond the Boundaries The program allows Sibley Heart Center Cardiology physicians and clinical staff to easily disseminate echo images from the clinics to all appropriate personnel. Having faster and more efficient access to these images will allow for expedited results, and ultimately, better patient care. If a physician at another location requires access to Miriam’s echo imaging, then the system allows this transmission without mail or courier services. Not only does this benefit our Sibley Heart Center Cardiology caregivers, it returns diagnostic results quickly and efficiently to the network of referring offices that utilize the practice’s services. The Web access solution provides seamless connectivity for the Sibley Heart Center Cardiology group. The in-hospital cardiac team of Children’s Sibley Heart Center can also communicate almost instantaneously with the Sibley Heart Center Cardiology offices across metro Atlanta. When a STAT diagnosis is required, the study can be sent, reviewed and finalized within minutes regardless of location or distance. In addition to the studies being available to the reading physician, they are also available to the referring physician/office as well. Referring physicians receive their reports by fax or access the digital storage provided to them at no cost. When additional specialists are called into the patient care continuum, access to patient study and image data can be provided via the Web, eliminating the need to burn a CD or send a VCR tape. Consulting links can also be utilized to allow additional input from other physicians. The time-saving feature allows for clinical staff to see and treat more patients, increasing hospital efficiency. About the Technology The Web-based software offers a multimodality digital solution to acquire images, generate a point-and-click customizable report, and gain storage and access of all images and data, both current and historical, from their data center. In addition, the provider assumes responsibility for environmental controls, updates, upgrades, data center bandwidth, storage capacity, and secure HIPAA-compliant procedures. There are significant cost savings, both up-front and recurring, because of access to the data center from any Web-enabled computer; no special workstations are required. Software and equipment costs, annual maintenance, training and setup, and implementation are included as well. Future Developments and Uses Our physicians and staff at the Sibley Heart Center Cardiology will continue to work with the system administrators to custom-tailor and maintain the program to best meet the needs of our patients. Today, Miriam is doing very well. Despite many surgeries and extensive therapy, her life is finally getting back to normal. Many of the providers at Children's, both those who have met young Miriam and those who have only met her electronically, have commended the courage and dedication that she has shown throughout her treatment. Editor’s Note: This article was peer reviewed by one or more members of EP Lab Digest’s editorial board.