Originally written for publication during ECR 2020 in March 2020 on the occasion of a planned Coffee & Talk session, ‘Guidance for IT in radiology: how radiologists can benefit from DIAM (Digital Imaging Adoption Model)’, and updated in June 2020.

The Digital Imaging Adoption Model (DIAM) was jointly developed by the European Society of Radiology (ESR) and the Healthcare Information and Management System Societies (HIMSS) Analytics Europe in 2016 for the purpose of supporting healthcare providers around the world to analyse their IT maturity and subsequently plan and implement an IT system enhancement strategy.

In 2019, HIMSS launched an expanded initiative designed to cover other medical imaging domains: DIAM Enterprise Imaging (DIAM-EI).

Although radiology was one of the first specialties for which computerisation became obligatory for daily work, and is thus already widely digitised, rapid technological developments in imaging informatics and information technology have been disrupting the status quo of standard support systems such as Radiology Information Systems (RIS) and Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS). Electronic Health Records, cloud-based computing, the Internet of Things, Augmented Reality, Deep Learning, are just a few examples. The slow and piecemeal adoption of these new technologies in healthcare institutions leaves room for significant improvement. The DIAM models are designed to make the adoption of technology more efficient and to offer benchmarks for best practice.

Professor Peter Mildenberger, from the University Medical Center Mainz, Germany, is Chair of the ESR Professional Issues and Economics in Radiology Subcommittee. He has been the ESR’s expert liaison for the DIAM project since its inception.

DIAM provides a simple, three-step pathway to enable participating organisations to identify their level of imaging IT capabilities and highlight key areas for improvement. The three-step process consists of: firstly, an online assessment form (tinyurl.com/DIAMSurvey), which must be completed by the participating organisation. This can be done in approximately three hours by radiologists, radiographers, and/or IT-experts, though ideally it should be a joint effort. Secondly, a thorough quality assurance assessment, completed by HIMSS. The extent of this assessment depends on the DIAM level achieved by the submitting organisation. Finally, a DIAM score and a gap report produced by HIMSS. This score is only shared with the organisation which submitted the data.

The DIAM score places the participating organisation within an 8-stage framework: the DIAM framework, with stages from 0 to 7, allows hospitals to gain a clear overview of their existing capabilities, assists in strategic, operational and procurement decisions. If repeated, the DIAM assessment can facilitate the monitoring of progress in imaging IT performance within individual organisations over time. The insights this provides can have both internal and external applications.

As of December 2019, sixty-six organisations from eighteen different countries in Europe, North America, the Middle East, and the Asia-Pacific region had been surveyed. Leading the way has been the King Abdulaziz Medical City (KAMC), in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, which became the first facility in the world to achieve DIAM stage 6. Described by the hospital as a “learning opportunity”, the DIAM assessment added impetus to various initiatives which had a positive impact on patient care, for example, the implementation of a VNA, an enterprise-wide Master Patient Index (MPI), cross reporting, analytics etc.

As a result of such changes, over 50,000 duplicate records were discovered. Care providers are now seeing single, unified patient imaging history records, which enables them to increase efficiency.

Another improvement brought by DIAM assessment is that, previously, requests for new features and services were frequently made without being fully justified. After the DIAM assessment requests for enhancement are now significantly more likely to be justified, thus ensuring IT value.

How to take part

If you are interested in participating in the DIAM project, please email [email protected]