Can medical imaging software replace a resident? Yes – and it can make radiological throughput more efficient and better for patients.
OK, we don’t really mean “replace a resident.” We just mean one common resident function: to cull patient data from disparate sources and present that information to the radiologist in charge.
As electronic health records (EHRs) become more common, radiologists will find it easier to access crucial patient medical information. But even if a radiologist has an EHR and a PACS, he or she is unlikely to be able to access both without switching computers or, at the very least, switching programs.
New medical imaging software designed to integrate EHRs and PACS (and, indeed, other systems) is changing that. And it’s coming just as radiologists are being pushed more than ever to be more efficient.
To get a sense for how the latest medical imaging software and efficiency go together, imagine a radiologist being asked to read an X-ray.
Without good integrative medical imaging software, he or she may have to wait for a resident (or a computer program) to bring pertinent information so that he or she knows what to look for. And that “pertinent information” may not be in one spot, and it may not be as complete as the radiologist hoped – meaning more time spent searching for the right information.
Now imagine a screen with the image (or images) in question next to a screen with all of the pertinent information available with a click or two of a mouse. Right away, the radiologist knows if the patient has medical complications, has had previous X-rays for the same condition, or even the situation may demand emergency surgery. That’s what’s possible with medical imaging software.
Even better: such medical imaging software enables the radiologist to be just about anywhere. Time spent traveling from hospital to hospital or clinic to clinic can be used to advance patient care.
The rise of digital technology has made such medical imaging software possible, and (no doubt) more advances will appear soon. But the time to improve efficiency – and patient care – with digital technology is now.