Sunflower Health Network, Inc., is implementing OffSite Image Management’s Virtual CD for patients’ diagnostic images. Product will boost efficiency in patient care across rural Kansas service area

Some of the biggest challenges in healthcare are related to finding ways to manage, store and exchange ever-growing data. Managing and sharing radiology data has proven to be a difficult task for many hospitals and clinics, resulting in redundancies, delayed diagnoses and frustrating both patients and providers. However, more facilities are solving this dilemma through cloud-based and cost-effective methods of managing radiology exams in order to streamline patient care.

OffSite Image Management, Inc., is working to get more healthcare providers up to date, including eliminating outdated data systems for radiology images — resulting in cost savings, better efficiency and enhanced patient outcomes.

Sunflower Health Network, Inc., based in Salina, Ks., reaches out to residents in 15 counties in central and north central Kansas, and in Harper County to the south. Like many rural providers throughout the nation, Sunflower facilities are offering excellent care to remote residents tending to farmland, as well as urban residents in larger towns and cities like Salina.

Heather Fuller, executive director at Sunflower, said several of the 17 facilities in the network used different methods of archiving and sharing medical images, but many were using compact discs as the primary method. CD burning technology, when it was first introduced, gave radiologists a chance to step away from the traditional film method and free up valuable storage space. However, CD burning technology also has its shortfalls, not the least of which is the risk of losing the CD. Another shortfall is that some physicians are handed CDs that won’t open or images like x-rays, CT scans and other modalities can’t be read.

Virtual CD takes the burning out of the process and introduces a method by which physicians are given a secure URL that can be used to gain access to the medical images. Virtual CD is the state of art solution that allows movement of DICOM data across artificial barriers set by proprietary EMR and HIE vendors.

Virtual CD allows secure access to radiology data through utilizing a dedicated URL, which could be integrated as part of any information exchange or DIRECT messaging system. Because OffSite builds its solutions in a vendor neutral archiving format, there are no roadblocks between physicians using disparate systems.

Fuller said Sunflower administrators set a goal to get all members using the same system, which would allow physicians to provide more consistent and efficient treatment of patients. Realizing that OffSite’s Virtual CD solution could offer this consistency to every facility in the network, Fuller approached the company about implementing the solution network-wide.

The implementation process has been a smooth one. Fuller said OffSite has provided members implementation manuals and is in the process of training Sunflower employees, going onsite to some hospitals and providing phone and email support as needed.

“The Virtual CD will help with transitions of care,” said Fuller of what she expects out of Virtual CD in the coming months. “It will save hospitals money and time, as well as making things easier for the providers and the patients.”

Fuller expects the solution to really shine when it comes to patient transfers, especially in emergency situations because physicians will have images available to them in a matter of seconds. The Virtual CD solution will also help reduce the amount of repeat tests. For instance, when rural patients need to see a specialist, their medical data can be instantly transferred to that specialist through OffSite’s cloud-based solution.

“We like that this system is designed by a former radiology tech,” Fuller said of the OffSite professionals who have extensive backgrounds in rural radiology facilities and know the needs of the rural providers.

For more information about Sunflower’s network, visit online at Visit OffSite Image Management online at to learn more about Virtual CD and their other solutions for radiological image storing and sharing. With more than 58 million images archived to-date, OffSite is quickly becoming one of the nation’s leaders in vendor neutral image sharing for healthcare facilities.