If you’re a vet who uses Horos, you’ve probably experienced the struggle of not having an efficient way to share and store images in one centralized location across multiple workstations. You've used either file-sharing services, emailed, or burned a CD. These solutions are expensive, slow, clunky, disorganized, manual, and prone to error.
Medical imaging technology traditionally has been an expensive capital investment for a typical veterinarian. It’s not surprising that vets are continually seeking ways to lower their imaging costs. These methods are great but there is a better answer…
The Horos viewer is part of the solution. Horos is a free open-source software compatible with Apple products. It is a professional, full-featured, DICOM medical image viewing software. Thousands of veterinarians have already chosen Horos and taken advantage of its power and functionality for free, but some growing practices are looking for more.
Purview, the lead sponsor of the Horos Project, has built a cloud-based PACS integrated with Horos. Cloud-based PACS offers many advantages over traditional on-site storage.
How the Cloud Helps Vets
Medical images stored in the cloud can be accessed from anywhere, shared with specialists or animal owners, and easily and instantaneously available for second opinions.
Cloud-available data can be accessed from virtually any device with access to the internet. By separating data dependency from physical computing, access to important information improves. This enables geographically dispersed specialists to collaborate on an individual patient.
Images are instantaneously available at the point of patient treatment. Whether that is a clinic, operating room, vet office, or even in the field, flexible access is useful for the treatment of larger animals.
An additional advantage of cloud-based studies is that they can be combined and accessed right from within an animal’s medical record. Rather than having to review each separately, the now complete medical record becomes a more powerful diagnostic tool.
Cloud users get charged only for the computing they consume. This means that rather than incur a large upfront capital expenditure, they pay for the computing they use, as it is consumed. By converting a capital expenditure to an operating expense, veterinarian cash flows improve. Expenses more closely align with patient revenue, making these costs more digestible.
Cloud providers shoulder the computing equipment maintenance burden, a nuisance not the preference of a typical vet. Also gone is the risk of technical obsolescence and the cost of replacing outdated technology.
Cloud data is accessed simply via a web browser. No proprietary computing equipment is required to access it. The cloud obviates the issues associated with incompatible computing systems. For medical images, this means that they can be viewed on any computer, tablet, or smartphone.
Sensitive or confidential data stored in a cloud environment resides in an encrypted state making an access breach more difficult. And since no data is transferred to or resides on the end-computing device, there is less risk of an outsider physically accessing this data.
Peace of Mind
When cloud systems are substituted for physical computing systems, they become less susceptible to disasters, whether natural or man-induced. Cloud computing systems are typically more resilient - duplicated in multiple facilities separated by hundreds of miles, served by different electrical and communication grids, on different tectonic plates, and in separate microclimates. A disaster at one location will not interfere with operations or mirrored storage in the second. Even if your local computing equipment becomes disabled, you still have access to your studies in the cloud.
While a Horos workstation is quite functional, it is not intended to be the ultimate storage device for medical images. Warehousing images on a workstation will ultimately degrade its performance. It also creates a single point of failure. Storage of important studies in a proper PACS system is always recommended.
If the cloud isn't a part of your specialty vet practice today, you certainly should consider the benefits you are missing. While the cloud may still feel nebulous to some, it is an important step forward in the progression of medical information.