Monday, February 20, 2012

Leading Views

The evolution of healthcare technology in the U.S. is pushing PACS administrators to rapidly adapt to the growing role of information technology in healthcare, as data from specialists need to be integrated with hospital systems and beyond. In a RSNA 2011 session titled "Radiology Informatics: Fundamentals for the Future," Keith Dreyer, DO, vice chairman of radiology computing and information sciences at Massachusetts General Hospital, discussed quality mandates surrounding image interpretation, reporting and access and how informatics and IT will play an ever larger role in the future of radiology. Dr. Dreyer elaborated on his vision of that future in a Q&A for the PARCA e-newsletter.

Q. In your RSNA session you talked about a “new age for radiology,” can you briefly describe that new world?

As patient centric initiatives such as the CMS Meaningful Use program take hold in radiology our services (and subsequently our IT systems) will need to expand beyond the wall of the department or imaging center.  Even beyond our provider enterprise to integrate to other care providers and patients themselves.  Currently, PACS systems are silos providing merely an electronic version of film with limited communication capabilities.  RIS systems are also inward facing and do little to provide meaningful interactive communication beyond the department to our ordering clinicians and our patients.  In a patient centric world, our systems provide very little other than to serve as limited edge devices for EHRs and PHRs.

PACS News Roundup

Bill would smooth medical licensing for telehealth
Feb. 7, 2012 – A bill expected to be introduced in Congress this year aims to make it easier to use medical licenses across state lines. As reported by the bill will create a comprehensive and interoperable database of verified physician credentials that would provide a tandem state/national license that would allow physicians to provide telehealth services in states accepting the tandem license. Currently each state requires its own license to practice medicine within its borders. The system complicates and hinders use of technology to deliver health care more efficiently in some cases via telehealth technology. (Read more)

Case study documents benefits of implementing PACS
Feb. 2, 2012 – Double-digit gains in productivity and efficiency were the results of a system-wide implementation of a PACS for the University Hospitals Case Medical Center (UHCMC) in Cleveland, according to a case study published in the February issue of Academic Radiology (requires subscription).  As reported by, the study showed that following the full implementation in 2009, radiology exam volume doubled from 269,750 in 2003 to 722,661 in 2010. The reduction in film use saved $3.2 million, and turnaround times were cut from 80 hours in 2002 to 20 hours in 2010. (Read more)

Is DICOM a non-standard standard?
Jan. 31, 2012 – Dr. John D. Halamka, set off a spirited debate with a blogpost stating that DICOM is a non-standard standard. As chief information officer of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School and chairman of the New England Healthcare Exchange Network his opinion is highly regarded, and his opinion opened up a lively discussion of the DICOM standard. Members may want to weigh in on the discussion. (Read more)