ATandT, Accenture Collaborate on Cloud Medical Imaging

AT&T will host the Accenture Medical Imaging Solution to allow doctors and radiologists to share and store medical images.

AT&T and Accenture have launched Accenture Medical Imaging Solution, a cloud database that will allow hospitals to centrally manage access to medical images and enable doctors and radiologists to collaborate on care.

Accenture is an IT consulting and services firm as well as a systems integrator. The two companies announced the new platform at the annual Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) conference in Chicago on Nov. 28. The agreement with Accenture is part of AT&T's previously announced plans to commercialize Medical Imaging and Information Management (MIMM) in late 2011.

The Accenture Medical Imaging platform incorporates AT&T's MIMM cloud service, which the telecom launched on June 22. MIMM is a vendor-neutral pilot cloud project that allows doctors to store, view and share medical images such as CAT scans, MRIs and X-rays. Baptist Health System in Alabama and Henry Ford Health System in Detroit are also deploying MIMM.

MIMM's pay-as-you-go pricing will allow providers to easily store medical images and save money on capital investment, according to Randall Porter, assistant vice president for AT&T Health. "MIMM is what's enabling the long-term storage of the images," Porter told eWEEK. AT&T will host the Accenture service on two of its 36 data centers, he said.

Accenture's Medical Imaging includes a teleradiology exchange, which will use AT&T's hosted network to match the supply of X-rays and other radiology images with demand.

About 73 percent of health care organizations plan to store medical images in the cloud, according to an Accenture study.

With the cloud database, Accenture and AT&T plan to "unlock" the health care workflow by making the images available in real time for specialists, technicians and patients at lower costs, Porter said.

In addition, top provider systems as well as hospitals in rural areas will be able to share images, according to Porter.

"Because it is cloud-based, any provider of any size can utilize it," he said. "We're targeting the top provider systems to help enable them to provide access to their scarce radiologist specialist and enabling rural hospitals to gain access to specialists to help them with their radiology workflow and image review."

Accenture Medical Imaging will also use AT&T's cloud network to benefit a hospital's workflow analysis process, in which health professionals share and manage radiology images.

"We're helping hospitals connect with one another, so they can share the capacity that exists between different hospital systems with one another," Derek Danois, global medical imaging lead for Accenture Health, told eWEEK.

With its new Medical Imaging platform, Accenture is looking to give doctors a complete view of patients' radiology images throughout the health care system, according to Danois. He noted that a complex system environment calls for doctors to share images with several health care partners.

"We recognize that's going to be part of a more complex system environment for electronic medical records, for sharing among health plan partners," Danois said.

On Nov. 22, AT&T announced that MIMM will be accessible using medical imaging software vendor Calgary Scientific's ResolutionMD diagnostic viewer on mobile devices. AT&T and Calgary Scientific are demonstrating ResolutionMD at RSNA 2011.

By incorporating the Calgary Scientific viewer, doctors will be able to make a diagnosis on the MIMM platform after examining radiology images.