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PACS/RIS Roundup

Overcoming today’s PACS/RIS challenges

Health Management Technology asked select experts the following question: What are the most signifi cant challenges today in picture archiving communications systems (PACS)/ radiology information systems (RIS), and how might these challenges best be overcome?

It’s all about integration

By Steven Tolle, senior VP, solutions management, Merge Healthcare

The most signifi cant challenges in the PACS/RIS market center around the competing requirements to unify these applications at the radiologist reading station, while also integrating each one separately with broader imaging and information solutions. Ideally, radiologists need all the appropriate information for diagnosis on screen, automatically linked together as easily and quickly as possible in a unifi ed workfl ow. Unfortunately, the tyranny of non-integrated workstation applications and desktops forces many radiologists to read with many windows open on multiple PCs. This gets exacerbated in dispersed reading workfl ows where the radiologists are spread across multiple locations. At Merge Healthcare, we believe this challenge can be alle- viated by integrating the various viewing functions into a single workstation where all of the studies are presented in proper context. This context requires tight PACS/RIS integration that must move beyond relevant priors and dictation system integration to include read state, ED discrepancy workfl ow, critical results notifi cation work- flow, broader patient health information and the display of related documents.

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This unifi cation, however, competes with priorities for broader image and information integrations. Hospital us- ers want RIS/EMR integration for consistent information workfl ow, as well as broader imaging priorities for standard archiving with VNA, and true enterprise image distribution. In the ambulatory market, RIS must bring in EHR capabilities or integrations to provide certifi ed technology for meaning- ful use, stay current with payers, connect with referrers and engage patients. Enterprise imaging and information com-

16 May 2012

petencies built through natively integrated applications are required to achieve these broader integrations. Proper prioritization of these competing requirements involves a deep understanding of the longer-term vision defi ned by the various healthcare legislative changes, along with clinical and technical advancements. Having a broader perspective allows for innovation that maximizes image and information workfl ow both at the point of the read and throughout the healthcare enterprise. Merge believes this is best gained by tapping into a user community that spans all aspects of the workfl ow, participation in legislative discourse and key relationships with technology vendors that can be leveraged for PACS and RIS innovation.

PACS should be Web-access enabled

By Henri “Rik” Primo, director, strategic relationships, Sie - mens Healthcare

Radiology information systems and picture archiving and communications systems have been adopted by an over- whelming majority in the healthcare community. Information technology is instrumental to increase the ability for radiolo- gists to grow the types and number of services they provide, to include advanced visualization in routine practice and to increase effi ciency and quality of reporting and patient care workfl ow.

Radiology has already embraced new, disruptive architec- tural paradigms in IT, such as virtualization and cloud-based storage. These technologies are required to address the evolv- ing requirements that come with increasing data volumes generated by imaging modalities, and to enable the use of a range of mobile devices in a secure fashion. The Offi ce of the National Coordinator for Health IT recently issued a Notice of Proposed Rule Making for Stage 2 Meaningful Use of an Electronic Health Record. These


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