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What will the right RIS system bring to your imaging department?

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | February 18, 2019
Health IT
From the January/February 2019 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Meanwhile, according to Holloway, PACS systems also became more sophisticated, offering radiologists more tools for workflow and different specialties.

The combination of these two changes reduced the role of RIS as a stand-alone system in the U.S., where today, manufacturers primarily develop RIS as a set of "best-of-breed" functionalities embedded within enterprise imaging systems, broader radiology platforms and a variety of other products.

"We’re starting to see broader platforms for radiology covering workflow, QA, operational tools, and business intelligence, all of which are embedded RIS capabilities," said Holloway. "It’s more of the best of breed functionality being spread and adopted into other products.”

Though steamrolled as a standalone by EHRs, RIS as a set of best-of-breed functionalities is growing as a competitor to EHR RIS modules, many of which are not as nuanced or sophisticated as the stand-alones they replaced in providing business intelligence and practice management.

Tim Ninke
As a result, the main use of RIS in hospitals has changed from that of a clinical workflow tool to one used mainly for administrative tasks, billing and scheduling. It also is used for preauthorization, ensuring that the process is completed seamlessly for all parties, from patients to payors to radiology business managers. “The purpose of the RIS, if nothing else, is to reduce as much friction as possible between various parties so they can be served,” said Jayanathan.

Assisting in these tasks is the incorporation of various forms of communication, such as texting and email. “There’s really been a push toward automation, whether that’s on the revenue management side or the patient check-in and the pre-visit workflow that needs to be accomplished for every imaging study,” said Tim Ninke, head of RIS implementation at MedInformatix.

What to look for in your vendor
For Christina Bronsky, the focus at her hospital was integration. The Advanced Patient-Centered Excellence (APeX) radiant manager and enterprise imaging program manager was searching for a RIS solution that could integrate with the EHR system at the University of California, San Francisco to allow its clinicians to access different forms of data throughout the entire facility.

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