Cardiologists Must Tap into Stimulus Bill to Upgrade PACS

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Chris P. Kaiser, Editor

On the road to total connectivity, cardiology departments and practices need to examine all avenues of data integration. It’s imperative that they not get caught with technology—whether PACS, cardiovascular information systems or EHRs—that cannot communicate across the enterprise with other data management and storage technology.

As you can see in our featured commentary, “How to benefit from the $19B healthcare IT giveaway,” a large portion of the government’s stimulus—$17 billion—is allocated as incentive pay for physicians who adopt robust EHRs. The government wants to ensure that patient data no longer sit in silos, but instead are actively exchanged between providers. On the path to a robust EHR, cardiologists will have to encounter PACS—and not all PACS are created equal.

Cardiology PACS are more important than ever as imaging is more important than ever in patient management. Vendors have improved upon PACS so that they can better handle dynamic data from echocardiography and nuclear imaging studies. Another major improvement is the PACS’ ability to handle and store the volumes of data from cardiac CT studies. 

Vendors have also made it easier to access advanced visualization tools from the PACS so that diagnostic, as well as interventional cardiologists can access high-quality cardiac CT images and manipulate them from their PCs. This is a huge step in streamlining workflow, as in years past, physicians generally had to go to a dedicated workstation to access advanced viz tools.

The government has set the IT bar very high. Cardiology groups and practices do not want to be caught off guard. In our Cardiology PACS portal, as well as future data management portals, we will aggregate all the latest articles, studies and vendor news for you to stay appropriately informed. We want you to make the best decisions that will offer improved patient care and financial efficiency.

Please send me your comments on this topic or any other.

Chris P. Kaiser, Editor