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Cover Story


“We no longer treat radiology and cardiology as sepa- center is one of the busiest in the region. The campus
rate from an imaging perspective,” notes Lucretia Craig, houses several centers of excellence, including Olathe
chief imaging offi cer. “There is only one PACS as a fully Medical Center’s Accredited Chest Pain Center, the
integrated enterprise solution. We believe in one patient Kansas Cardiovascular Center, Olathe Regional Oncology
record. The world is moving in that direction, and it Center, The Birth Place and The Kansas Joint Specialty
makes perfect sense to take imaging there, as well.” Center.

“As we increase our utilization of cardiac MRI and

CCTA, it has been very helpful to be able to access the
The fi ve-year cost-of-service projection
echocardiogram and cardiac catheterization images for

included savings on fi lm and processing,
correlation,” adds radiologist Donald Stallard. “It has
increased the effi ciency of the read and, even more
but the primary objective was to improve
important, the reading accuracy, based on multiple
access to information and enable safe,
Founded in 1953 as a 30-bed hospital, Olathe Medical
high-quality care.
Center has become a regional facility located on one of
the largest hospital campuses in the Midwest – a 285-acre
site in southern Johnson County, Kansas. Caregivers at Olathe now have on-demand access to
This acute-care medical center averages more than complete image data from anywhere in the hospital, as
44,000 patient-care days per year. Its emergency-care well as from remote locations via the Internet. The fi lm-
less, paperless system dramatically improved imaging and
clinical work-fl ow effi ciency, Stallard says.
The PACS benefi ts
Worth its weight in gold
Before the PACS implementation at Olathe
“The superfi cial advantage is clearly the convenience
Medical Center, a diagnostic chest x-ray required
of accessing all patient images in one location,” notes
59 steps from acquisition to report delivery. It now
cardiologist Kit Powers. “But on occasions when the
takes seven steps. In addition:
cardiologist needs to access all information at one time
Report turnaround time (RTT) has dropped from
to make a life-saving decision in a split second, the sys-
18 hours to less than two hours.
tem has been worth its weight in gold. The process has
Mammography RTT has been reduced from 48 also helped our group in creating a centralized reading
hours to same-day performance. approach to accommodate facilities and physician offi ces

Exams requiring rereading have been reduced located off campus.”
from an average of 129 per month to six per “An extensive work-fl ow analysis of each radiology

department section was key to our success,” Craig ex-
Duplicate dictations have been eliminated. Prior
plains. “Through that process, the PACS implementation

to implementation, Olathe estimated an average
team acquired intimate knowledge of all imaging-related
of 35 duplicate dictations each month.
processes and gained the buy-in of staff in all areas.”

I/O CHECK The imaging department was able to reduce fi ve
The implementation included a phased rollout backed
full-time equivalents because of improved process

by tailored training for physicians, nurses and technolo-
PROD MGR effi ciencies.
gists. After going live, the PACS team provided around-
Anecdotally, Olathe has seen an impact on
the-clock support, including direct contact with the team
referrals, from nearly every-day multiple
10 hours per day by way of a mobile telephone line.
complaints, lost fi lms and demands that were
Digital-image management was not new to the center,
diffi cult to handle, to virtually zero complaints.
During the fi rst year of the radiology/cardiology
which already had a cardiovascular information system
PACS implementation, Olathe realized more
(CVIS) and a standalone cardiology PACS. The cath labs
Nelson Publishing than $500,000 savings in fi lm, chemistry and
went fi lmless in 1999, and PACS for echocardiography
maintenance fees for equipment to produce fi lms.
was integrated in 2004, eliminating tapes for those
2500 Tamiami Tr N
In subsequent years, Olathe has seen an average
Nokomis, FL 34275
of $300,000 in annual savings.
The hospital performs approximately 120,000 imag-
Physician satisfaction has also increased. A survey
ing studies per year. The fully integrated PACS archives
prior to the multidepartment PACS was 2.4 on a
MRI, CT, cath lab, electrophysiology, diagnostic radiol-
scale of 1-5. In 2008, the repeat survey yielded
ogy, digital mammography, DEXA bone densitometry,
a 5. ultrasound, echocardiography and nuclear medicine
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