IT matters: How radiologists solved their PACS problems

March 14, 2017
Health IT

The solution, called “hardware actualization,” as opposed to “software virtualization,” allows for instantaneous sharing and provides for improved system-wide access. It’s a completely different approach to the PACS problem. Instead of implementing a vendor neutral archive (VNA), this technology gives the radiologist access to everything using a single reading station. It’s a simple solution that takes away the headaches involved in transferring and consolidating DICOM studies, and allows the radiologist or practice to upscale or downscale as needed. Implementation is measured in hours, not months.

Hardware actualization also removes the headache of retraining radiologists to read on a new system that they don’t like. Instead, it’s PACS agnostic, which provides access to multiple PACS environments simultaneously — all with the same peripherals already in use. Multiple dictation platforms are also a nonissue for actualization. That’s because it deconstructs the entire system and gives each PACS client direct access to their exact dictation client.

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In the same way, it connects to multiple VPNs without any conflict by way of bringing direct access to each system as they would appear at the facility or reading site. This hardware approach removes the need for lengthy implementation plans and huge development budgets. No more large investments in software developers and infrastructure changes. Radiologists read on their preferred PACS, practices get a direct workflow and can upscale or add new systems with ease.

Implementation is as easy as buying a new workstation and installing any PACS client on it. On top of all the above, ergonomics and environmental considerations were high on the engineering challenges. The goal was to minimize heat, noise, dust and weight while not impacting performance. Over several years, Sunshine Radiology deployed dozens of the new products to all nine facilities and to more than 80 percent of their radiologists’ homes. Now, when one busy client hospital gets overwhelmed with patients, physician resources from numerous hospital and home locations are utilized to effectively manage regional patient volume.

What’s more, Sunshine Radiology’s investment in home workstations allowed it to maintain SLAs without increasing staffing, all while hospital volumes continued to grow. Their radiologists now read between three and five additional studies per shift when compared to prior years. In 2015, that resulted in an eight percent increase in productivity!

About the author: Gregory P. Burnell is chief executive officer of Florida-based Singular Medical Technologies.

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