This posting is the first in a series that discusses cloud based computing and benefits to bone density providers. For a brief description of The Cloud and cloud based computing, see our prior posting.
In this posting, we focus on the questionnaire aspect in the context of DXA-based bone density reporting. We specifically examine the benefits of an online questionnaire which is stored in the cloud.
With the advent of FRAX, patient history questionnaires have taken on new significance. The FRAX algorithm requires knowledge of the patient’s risk factors and these are typically collected via a questionnaire in one of different ways. We will show key advantages offered by The Cloud compared to non-cloud based questionnaire solutions.
Today, DXA machine software includes a questionnaire for use with FRAX. Both Hologic and GE/Lunar have added this capability. The presumed workflow is that the DXA technologist fills in the questionnaire at the DXA machine, prior to scanning the patient. The technologist scans the patient, analyzes the scans, and a FRAX score appears on the DXA machine printout.
In a cloud environment, the questionnaire is filled online and therefore easily accessible through a web browser. It is then stored in the cloud. Let’s look at the advantages of such an enterprise class approach:
- Technologists and physicians can view and/or modify the questionnaire from anywhere as long as they have access to the Internet through a Web browser.
- Physicians can easily recall the questionnaire corresponding to a specific report, since the questionnaire is stored centrally. No need to walk to the DXA machine.
- Busy bone density providers benefit from an improved operational workflow. For example, with BoneStation, a questionnaire may be entered before the exam takes place. The questionnaire is stored in a queue. When the scan is performed, the questionnaire in the queue is associated with the exam.
- The questionnaire can be modified without disrupting workflow. In a cloud-based solution that incorporates FRAX, such as BoneStation, there would be no need to change a question on the DXA machine in order to recalculate a FRAX score.
- New opportunities for Quality Assurance and Research are enabled. This is because questionnaires become easily data-mined, as a result of being part of an enterprise class software. All questions (and associated answers) are stored centrally. This may be particularly important in multi-DXA operations.
- One could even envision the patient accessing his or her questionnaire (for example to review its accuracy).
These benefits to the technologists, physicians, researchers, operations managers and ultimately patients, are characteristic of enterprise class software. Enterprise class software tie teams together in their work environment, making them more productive through collaboration and workflow.
We probably have not exhausted the potential benefits and opportunities offered by online, cloud-stored questionnaires for bone densitometry.
We thank you for reading this blog, and welcome your suggestions and comments.