Do top-notch electronic health records (EHRs) and non-digital medical imaging go together?
Not really. And that’s why every medical facility making the switch to EHRs needs to think seriously about investing in – or possibly upgrading – PACS software.
There’s no doubt that the switch to EHRs is happening quickly. One study predicts an $8.3 billion global EHR market by 2016 (representing annual 12 percent growth from a $6.5 billion market in 2012) while another says $9.1 billion, with over 10 percent of that from ambulatory clinics.
What’s behind such numbers? In the U.S. and other countries, governments are funding EHR conversion efforts as a way to improve medical care and decrease overall healthcare budgets. But medical professionals also see the immediate benefits of records that are comprehensive, accessible anywhere within a system, easily transferable to other medical facilities, and designed to red-flag threats to patient safety.
They also see that it doesn’t make sense to go digital on medical records without going digital in radiology. After all, X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and other medical imaging procedures are just as much a part of a patient’s medical history as a list of a his or her current medications, allergies, and procedures.
But if a doctor, nurse, or other medical imaging professional can’t easily access pictures and videos, they are trying to care for a patient with a partial blinder on.
The solution: PACS software – or, if older PACS software can’t interface with a new EHR, a PACS software upgrade.
Is it time for your medical facility to improve your EHR with PACS software or a PACS software upgrade? If the prognosticators are right, that’s a nearly $9 billion question.