PACS Powers the Enterprise

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Robert Berkenblit, MD, Montefiore Medical Center  

2007 marks another banner year for digital image management systems. Vendors are rolling out a host of new features designed to streamline radiology workflow this year in the Windy City.
   
More vendors are offering ER discrepancy tools to help hospitals identify and manage discrepancies between the initial ER and final radiology interpretations. Other features such as instant report alerts boost communication with referring physicians to expedite care and improve service. Visitors also can view an array of dashboard tools. Some help sites monitor and measure performance, while others enable PACS vendors to monitor the system and proactively identify and manage problems. Look for more tools to simplify multi-site image management. These include roaming user profiles that not only streamline workflow for radiologists who travel among facilities, but also assist physicians viewing studies from home. More vendors are incorporating PET/CT tools to help handle hybrid exams. And the era of enterprise PACS is apparent with more and more vendors touting ‘ology’ assists like digital orthopedic tools.
   
So make your list and make the rounds. RSNA ’07 promises something for everyone in the PACS market.


Agfa HealthCare (Booth 4106) is highlighting its solutions in radiology imaging and imaging informatics and launching a new set of IMPAX suites and a new line-up of workflow solutions supported by expert services. The company is holding its cards tight to the chest in terms of system details, but the full portfolio will be on display at showtime.
   
Agfa is emphasizing its leadership in helping hospitals successfully transition from analog to digital solutions. The company’s vision is to accompany hospitals in their transition from analog to digital to IT solutions, with a view to improving the delivery of medical and patient care and supporting a more cost-effective healthcare arena. 


AMICAS (Booth 2583) is highlighting RadStream and debuting both VisionReach 2.0 and Vision Series PACS Version 5.5.
   
The RadStream workflow solution is proven to improve radiologist productivity, service and quality for referring physicians. The system makes possible the automation and documentation of critical results communication and the prioritization of imaging exams based on a “most likely to interrupt” logic. Researchers at Cincinnati Children's Hospital and the University of Cincinnati College of Business found that RadStream improves radiology report turnaround by more than 50 percent and reduces interruptions to radiologists by nearly 25 percent. AMICAS successfully integrated the technology into RealTime Worklist. RadStream also complements the Vision Reach referring physician portal.
   
Vision Reach 2.0 extends its functionality to include follow-up order entry, allowing a referring physician to order a follow-up exam–in addition to receiving instantaneous secure notification when a report is available. It provides proactive electronic delivery, notifying the referring physician when exam results are ready. Vision Reach also integrates the radiology report with key images and creates a single "multi-media" report for referring physicians. It uses e-mail and secure messaging to proactively deliver images, reports and information to any e-mail-enabled device. The zero install client web-based application eliminates installation and any client level application requirements. Vision Reach is available as a standalone referring physician product or in combination with Vision Series products.
   
Vision Series PACS Version 5.5 introduces enhancements to RealTime Worklist, including role-based workflow management. Also included are extended Vision Watch reporting capabilities and new advanced high availability options. Role-based workflow management makes it possible to create custom workflows for everyone involved in the radiology round trip. For the radiologist, it optimizes reading patterns and enhances communication. For the technologist, it facilitates instantaneous awareness of where patients are in the imaging process. For the referring physician, RealTime Worklist delivers quicker results and better service. AMICAS is showing examples of role-based workflow management such as identification and communication of ED discrepancies. Besides the ED wet-read assessment, other exam factors can be captured and stored with the study, such as teaching file status, image quality assessment and study reservation.