PACS & RIS Combine to Track Progressive Conditions

2013-01-23
 

 Leg X-Ray What would you think if you knew that multiple medical images were being used to proactively track conditions that may progress over time? From osteoarthritis to cancer lesions, doctors and radiologists are using radiology imaging studies to evaluate changes in baseline readings and measurable cancers, for starters.

As our society continues to age and add pounds, a plethora of health concerns are on the horizon. The predictive potential of medical imaging in scenarios where bones may be shifting offers a compelling argument for maintaining an integrated PACS/RIS system.

According to a study published in the July 2012 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism, cited by Evan Godt of Clinical Innovation + Technology, researchers determined that if medical imaging showed possible osteophyte at baseline, then knee osteoarthritis (OA) was more likely to worsen. Establishing a history and understanding the natural course of knee OA enables doctors to apply preventive therapies and reduce known risk factors, the report noted. (Source)

This ability to combine and track progressive conditions allows physicians to diagnose and treat patients before their condition worsens. It may even mitigate the need for knee replacement, as in the case mentioned above.

Medical Imaging Comparisons May Improve Patient Outcomes

Imaging studies for cancer patients can contain hundreds of images. When making treatment decisions, the oncologist looks for changes in the measurable disease, such as lesions that are large enough to be identified through medical imaging.

In monitoring a patient’s response to treatment, one approach is to compare cancer lesions identified in a new imaging study with those in prior studies. The doctor is looking for changes in the size, number and metabolic activity of measurable cancer lesions. The ability to track the course of a disease both prior to onset and after diagnosis represents great possibilities for improving patient outcomes. (Source)

PACS/RIS Holding the Pieces Together

In the old days, diagnostic imaging and other medical information was siloed. Because of traditional paper filing methods, it wasn’t easily shared and combined; different parts could be found in different places and it would have to be gathered piecemeal. Today’s RIS technology holds all those images together. Managing the diagnostic imaging process across multiple imaging scenarios makes predictive diagnoses a reality because images can be both evaluated at once and compared to the past.

Have you used your PACS system to track progressive conditions? Has it been successful for your patients?

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