Implementing multiple PACS can be a challenge. With multiple PACS, it’s important to ensure that with the potential for patient data to reside across numerous locations, the systems must be properly calibrated and synced so that medical histories are not inconsistent or incomplete. The greatest potential for complete interoperability is if all of the PACS are from the same vendor. However, due to previous investments and cost restraints, that might not always be possible.
With that in mind, here are some tips and hints for healthcare providers implementing multiple PACS in an organization.
- Evaluate what you have. You already have some form of PACS, RIS or other health information system, as well as patient data that is already stored. Knowing what you have, what format it is in and where it is located is important for ensuring the information is included with the appropriate health record when your multiple PAC system is up and running.
- Determine your needs. How many PACS your organization requires largely depends on how many locations and individual departments need to provide medical images. Larger healthcare providers with multiple locations will have more to take into consideration than a smaller organization that has less data, patients and department with which to work.
- Connect your network. With inconsistent connectivity, some parts of an electronic health record could be temporarily lost when a health practitioner needs it the most. Whether your multiple PACS stretch across a single building or multiple locations, your PACS need to have a steady data connection to ensure that communication is free-flowing and the information that is shared is complete.
Convenience & Privacy Together
Whether you’re implementing single or multiple PACS, these state-of-the-art systems offer a variety of benefits beyond the realm of simply making it easy to have complete electronic imaging records.
- They have been connected to surgery suites so that medical images can be displayed and manipulated on monitors fixed to ceiling mounted arms located above the patient. When a radiologist utilizes high-resolution dual monitors to interpret images, he or she can compare current images to previous ones for a more accurate reading. In addition, the ability to zoom-in, rotate, brighten and increase contrast allows for a more precise diagnosis.
- The PACS that are fully integrated with radiology information systems (RIS) and voice recognition software make it easy for radiologists to prepare reports for the waiting physician. The quick turn-around time prevents the patient from waiting unnecessarily for results.
- The convenience of viewing images from home or office with a simple browser-based log in (by authorized personnel), gives hospital personnel the flexibility they need to perform their job at the highest professional level. If an individual forgets to sign off, the system automatically times out and shuts down.
We may tend to get caught up in the latest medical information technology and want to remember, customers first. Patients are the first to benefit from this dynamic technology. For example,
- Patients may obtain test results faster.
- Improved image quality, may result in fewer retakes.
- Accurate and consistent records reduce the likelihood for unnecessary repeat procedures, thereby reducing exposure to radiation.
Whether you are gathering critical information in a Trauma Center or for a routine CT scan, allowing multiple physicians to view images instantly and at the same time results in faster consultations. In the medical profession, saving time can almost always save lives.