PACS = Collaboration = Better Care

2012-03-21
 

pacs ris collaboration

A lot has been said about the ability of picture archiving communications systems (PACS) to improve efficiency of radiology and other medical imaging professionals. But a PACS can also be a tool for radiologists and other medical imaging professionals to help have a better impact on patient care.

With PACS, radiologists and other medical imaging professionals can easily access and analyze an image simultaneously – whether they are in front of the same monitor or different screens. Thus, consultation and collaboration becomes much easier. Moreover, PACS enables radiologists to record their observations and interpretations on the system, making them available when that image is viewed again.

And it may be the case that patients benefit from more consultation and collaboration. Images may be more accurately interpreted by having a second (or third, or fourth) radiologist look at them, and primary care physicians often bring a wealth of information about their patients that helps radiologists focus their interpretations.

That was true at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover, new Hampshire, a 178-bed, acute-care facility which upgraded to a McKesson PACS/RIS in 2009. The hospital saw improvements in efficiency because of the new PACS: radiology report time down from 24 to three hours, no waiting for paper documents, and quick and easy access to the system throughout the hospital. Improved efficiency naturally translated into more time (and, with the new PACS, more ability) to collaborate with fellow radiologists and primary care physicians, which one could determine to inevitably lead to better patient care.

The same was true at Desert Radiologists, a Las Vegas radiology practice that adopted McKesson PACS in 2008. Shortening report times, increasing the of the ability to share information, and eliminating lost reports not only improved efficiency and saved dollars, but also increased collaboration among radiologists in the practice and consultation time with physician-customers.

PACS generally does allow greater efficiency for radiologists and other medical imaging professionals. But more importantly, it alwo allows them to provide better patient care, which is what radiology is ultimately about.

Read the full case study of Wentworth-Douglass Hospital here and the Desert Radiologist case study here.

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