With the increasing power and reach of the Internet, the world of health imaging is being transformed – from radiology to specialists, to doctors, and even to patients. Using a web-based PACS enterprise-wide and remotely, healthcare providers can distribute digital images to radiologists more effectively (literally). Physicians and clinicians who refer patients benefit as well. Physicians can access patient images more easily via the web, rather than using film-based access that is cumbersome and more time-consuming.
The RIS PACS redefines the boundaries of medical care and re-engineers workflow. For example, take a look at Inland Imaging. In northern Idaho and Washington, this Spokane-based provider of medical imaging services serves 14 hospitals. A total of 350 employees, including 55 radiologists and five vascular surgeons, work at the center.
The I Site Enterprise PACS (formerly Stentor I Site PACS) by Philips Medical Systems makes it possible for radiologists, surgeons, and other physicians to access and distribute digital images from their offices and from home. PACS allows hospitals to virtually connect.
Web-based tools for leveraging
Capital Health System selected an online PACS as well. Integral Web PACS from Dynamic Imaging, which provides comprehensive capabilities and authorized access from any computer at the Trenton, New Jersey, acute-care teaching hospital’s dual campuses.
The main reason to choose PACS based on the web was? Capital’s chairman of radiology, Yaakov Applbaum, MD, says “Films were getting lost.”
Among my favorite trauma surgeon stories involved patients undergoing CT imaging following hip filming in the trauma bay. It was too late for the patient to receive the hip films, since they had been destroyed by the time of the CT scan. PACS internally was essential to our survival.
Our goal was to provide ease of access to referring physicians once we purchased the PACS so that we could compete with other hospitals in the area. Because our system has the same functionality inside and outside of hospitals, we decided on a web-based solution to facilitate that.”
According to Applbaum, radiologists are able to access all the PACS functions remotely at the hospital. In a hospital and outside, physicians should be able to use the same system without recognizing any differences. It was also important to us that it was simple to use. Downloading software without a CD was a requirement. In order to access patient information, the physician logs into a website with their username and password.
Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland, moved its radiology services to a web-based environment after replacing their existing PACS with Amicas’ Vision Series web-based system. Previously, PACS was seen as a tool for radiologists or their departments, according to Jim Stalder, Mercy’s CIO.
That remains a fact, however, people who recommend patients for [medical imaging] exams should also have better access to this information. A referring physician may also request a film in many cases, depending on the specialty. Patients are also burdened by the burden of managing and carrying film in addition to the burden on the doctor.”
Better quality of care
In addition to improving hospital workflows, Applbaum notes that every PACS enhances them. Physicians outside the hospital can access the service and keep track of all their patients even when they are outpatients or inpatients.
Applbaum continues, “In a web-based PACS, it is impossible to compare patient care quality.”. It provides orthopedists and pediatricians with access to images of children taken for [studies]. A physician can more efficiently and effectively treat children when a chest x-ray identifies pneumonia or fractures. It is obvious that this affects patient care. A one-way improvement in patient care quality is impossible.