It Matters – Who moved my PACS?

June 26, 2015
From the June 2015 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Clinical imaging shift to enterprise viewer
As clinicians shift from using the PACS to an enterprise viewer, mostly from within the EMR, they will look for that application to provide the necessary tools. For specialties that have specific tools, this may result in an integration that was previously provided in the PACS being replaced by one with the enterprise viewer. As clinicians make the enterprise viewer in the EMR their default method of image access, the usage of PACS will actually decline (fewer user log-ins, fewer client installs needed) after years of rapid expansion.

Results structured and coded
The adoption of structured reporting within radiology has trailed cardiology for years, with procedure-specific report templates being used primarily for productivity benefits. By providing a comprehensive library of structured report templates validated by clinicians for consistent comprehension, the quality of the radiology report can be improved. Improved integration with EMR to automate the inclusion of specific patient data elements, as well as methods for extracting structured measurement data from PACS for findings, can increase the value of the report even further. The use of a coding scheme also allows secondary usage of the data, such as the use of registries for data analytics and benchmarking.

Enterprise imaging captured and available in the EMR
As evidence-based best practices are defined for the recommended care activities for given patient conditions, incentives will be aligned with the adherence to these best practices. If there is evidence that the correlation of data, including images, is the most effective approach, the need to incorporate enterprise images along with diagnostic exam images will become a much higher priority. Early adopters will be more prepared for the challenging transition to such a data collection and integration program.

About the author: Don Dennison is an industry consultant, a speaker and panelist on topics such as medical imaging record interoperability and integration of imaging data within the EMR. He has published numerous articles on various imaging informatics topics. Don serves on the Board of Directors of SIIM and chairs the ACR Connect committee.

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