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An Image Worth A Thousand Words: In Indonesia, A Hospital Uses Technology To Make Radiology Images Available Faster

Indonesia is in the middle of an economic boom. Last year GDP rose 5.1 percent, the country’s highest growth rate in four years. That expansion has helped Indonesia’s government launch a universal health care program, among other initiatives. As of 2017, three years into the program, 70 percent of the population — roughly 181 million people — had signed up for some level of government-sponsored healthcare.

This influx of people into the system has created a unique challenge for RS Premier Bintaro (RSPB), one of the most respected hospitals in Jakarta, the Indonesian capital. In 2016, patient volume at the hospital grew by 30 percent, forcing executives to find new ways to handle the growing patient load without slowing down service, especially in radiology.

Basic tasks like printing films with patient images and then getting those prints to doctors can be time-consuming. With more people potentially seeking treatment, there was a risk of a backlog.

But in 2016, RSPB built a web-based picture and archiving system for its radiology department using software from GE Healthcare. Radiology technicians use the software, called Centricity Universal Viewer 100 edition, to instantly upload X-ray, MRI and nuclear medicine images to the web so doctors can view them from anywhere. Using a dashboard that can combine the images with diagnoses and scanned documents related to the patient’s health, they can also quickly consult with other experts and get crucial information to patients. After imaging, “the patient immediately returns to the doctor’s office, with no need to wait for the printing of radiological images,” says Erni Rusmana, a supervisor at RSPB’s radiology department.

To quantify the effectiveness of the new digital system, GE Healthcare and RSPB commissioned market research firm Frost & Sullivan to do a study comparing outcomes before and after the hospital implemented the new technology. The study showed a 31 percent cost savings per examination and a 38 percent reduction in the time between when a patient enters the radiology department and when their report is generated. Patient wait times for diagnoses also decreased significantly and emergency patients have been able to get results almost in real time. Rusmana said the new technology has made her job easier. “There’s no need to input patient data and no need to back up patient data manually,” she said.

Marc Foo, senior commercial director, Healthcare Digital, GE Healthcare ASEAN, expects to see more hospitals in Indonesia embrace similar systems. “It is very encouraging to see this drive towards digital catch on in Indonesia, as it will benefit the country’s large and widespread population,” Foo said.

A version of this article originally appeared on The Pulse, GE Healthcare’s newsroom.

Top image credit: GE Healthcare.

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