[Note: Read part 1 of this series here]
A Crash Course on Diagnostic Imaging Departments for the MU Team
If you already work in the radiology or cardiology department, you can skip this section and advance to the next one.
If you are a member of the Meaningful Use implementation team at your hospital, you are likely trying to figure out a lot of unfamiliar jargon coming from those nice folks in your imaging departments. Here is what you need to know to communicate with them on this topic.
First, when you want to talk about “tests” in the Meaningful Use sense, in radiology and cardiology terms, this means “studies” (or in some places, “procedures”). Likewise, “results” are more commonly referred to as “reports.”
When the folks in radiology talk about PACS, they are referring to the system that takes in images and distributes them to radiologists and other folks who need to see and work with these images. Not surprisingly then, the acronym PACS stands for Picture Archiving and Communication System. They may also talk about a Radiology Information System (RIS). For meeting the Image Results objective you can likely ignore the RIS completely.
When the folks in cardiology talk about CVIS, they are referring to a Cardiovascular Information System. Some cardiology departments will also refer to their CVIS as a CPACS (Cardiology Picture Archive and Communication System). The CVIS or CPACS is sort of like a PACS and RIS combined and specialized for cardiology needs, but can also include structured report composition, ECG data, hemodynamics, consumables management, and a myriad of other things. Because the Image Results objective only deals with images (at this point), these distinctions do not really matter to you on the MU team.
You may also hear the folks in imaging talk about a Vendor Neutral Archive (VNA). From your point of view, you can think of this as being like a central repository that manages images from multiple PACS, CVIS, and other systems that might produce or consume images. You only need to care about the VNA if it simplifies the Image Results viewer selection we discuss next (which it should if it is doing its job correctly).
For the purposes of the Meaningful Use team addressing the Image Results objective, the only thing you need to care about is what viewing software the imaging systems at your hospital can offer up to non-radiologists and non-cardiologists. These are typically called reference viewers or universal viewers. Depending on your vendor mix sometimes these are the exact same viewers that the radiologists and cardiologists use, and sometimes not. For the purpose of MU the optimal number of viewers that you want to be dealing with is one, or failing that, a single “front door” web page that allows the user to select the appropriate viewer. Even if that is not the case, all may not be lost.
Tip: If radiology and cardiology departments currently use different viewers, you should probably put cardiology on the back burner for MU2 and instead focus on radiology. We will talk about the reasons for this later in the section called “Attesting: Numerator and Denominator” in the third installment of this series. You could try to put cardiology and radiology on the same viewer, but despite this being a laudable long-term goal, this may be overly ambitious if you just want to quickly close off on one stage 2 Meaningful Use menu objective. See more about this in the third installment in the “What About Cardiology” section.
To be continued…
Visit the McKesson website for answers to your most common questions about Meaningful Use, or feel free to ask me a question by leaving a comment.