- March 9, 2020
Document digitization is a rapidly growing priority within the telehealth industry. With the push towards paperless solutions, clinical IT professionals are faced with the fear of image degradation from lossy compression, burdensome file storage costs, and slowed patient care. Lossless compression eases the decision-making process by providing a solution that reduces image file sizes without compromising quality. By integrating a lossless compression software into their telehealth platforms, health care providers can boost productivity in their document-related communications, largely reducing costs while simultaneously creating a faster patient experience.
Digitization within the Telehealth Industry
The telehealth or telemedicine industry is an emerging crossover between IT and telecommunications within clinical institutions. Responding to demands for greater access to records and remote health care, telehealth relies on digital environments for communicating, diagnosing, and analyzing medical documents. The boom of telehealth implicates not only digital platforms for telecommunication, but also requires efficient use of the documents used in these telehealth systems. Maintaining both high image quality and efficient access to medical images — such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans and multislice computed tomography (CT) — has become top-of-mind for healthcare providers. For instance, a newly proposed patient access and interoperability rule “will allow CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) to disclose providers participating in ‘information blocking,’ or those who are limiting the availability, disclosure, and use of electronic health information.” With easy patient access to electronic health records (EHR) becoming an issue of compliance, cost-efficient and legally compliant modes of file upload, transmission, and access have become the basis of a nimble and reliable virtual care program.
Choosing the Best Medical Imaging Compression Software
A major issue affecting the deployment of remote and mobile health care applications involves the nature of medical imaging documents and the industry requirements for image quality preservation. Faced with challenges of maintaining file quality for patients’ crucial image scans, IT professionals might be dissuaded from relying on a compression software that degrades image quality.
For instance, telehealth professionals might refuse to consider lossy compression, a method of data compression that reconstructs the original data approximately. With lossy compression, image file sizes can be drastically reduced — but at risk of significant image quality degradation. An article from BMC Medical Imaging warns that only modest degrees of lossy JPEG compression can be applied to medical images “while leaving the images indistinguishable from the original.” For clinical organizations with stringent regulations on record keeping, this might strike lossy compression entirely out as an option. This choice to maintain quality over efficiency leaves telehealth organizations with burdensome server expenses, strain on bandwidth and storage costs, and slowed processes from bloated file sizes. Furthermore, delayed patient access due to bottlenecked data transmission results in penalizations from noncompliance, impeded diagnoses, and client dissatisfaction.
Increased Efficiency and Client-side Impact with Lossless Compression
As an alternative to lossy compression, lossless compression produces a compressed image file exactly identical to its initial scan, achieving file size reduction alongside a guaranteed preservation of image quality. Lossless compression is an intuitive solution expediting the transition to paperless communications. By circumventing issues of image degradation, it adds to the cost efficiencies and greater access to health records through digitization. Clients can, for instance, more quickly download and thumb through their medical image documents. Patients can be treated and diagnosed with greater efficiency and with an upheld degree of accuracy. Medical charts and images can be circulated internally for analysis or for second interpretations cost-effectively, as data-rich image attachments can be sent through email without fear of hitting maximum image attachment capacity or slowing down correspondence as often.
A robust lossless image compression software like PDF Compressor offers both speed and accuracy in workflows involving scanned medical images, Lossless compression can drastically lighten server load and reduce paid storage space in third-party cloud applications and CRMs, as well as drive faster upload, download, and circulation of key medical images. This leads to faster retrieval and usage of image files, reduced network bandwidth consumption and storage costs, and minimized lag in both wireless and web display. Overall, lossless compression eases crucial processes of data transmission, upload, and analysis in telemedicine that would otherwise be hindered by bloated image files, especially for clinical organizations with large repositories of scanned documents.
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