How to select a good cardiology image and information management system

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Selecting the optimal system to manage your cardiology data requires careful planning, according to Nathan Pinkney, BS, RDMS, senior project engineer for ECRI. He was the author of an e-Session at HIMSS06, “Cardiology PACS Selection: Is It Different from Radiology PACS?”
   
As users become more familiar with all of your system’s options, their workflow will change, so your system should be adaptable. You also want to allow for varying configurations to reflect your organization’s administrative and clinical preferences.
   
A CIIMS—cardiology image and information management system—combines a cardiology information system and PACS. This differs from RIS-PACS because cardiology has significant workflow differences. For example, cardiology is much more likely to work with dynamic rather than static images. Cardiology also is much more likely to require synchronization information from numerous sources.
   
Using CIIMS allows you to transmit images anywhere, provides for simultaneous access to images and automated workflow, and can serve as a component of an electronic medical record. Integration with imaging modalities and information systems is essential to a successful CIIMS. Pinkney recommended that healthcare facilities develop their CIIMS with Integration the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) standards in mind. Most vendors do and these are most likely the standards they will continue to work with.
   
Most vendors have enhanced their security measures with encryption and audit trail capabilities. Service is another essential consideration for a successful CIIMS implementation. You will need input from your vendor for every step of the process, including planning, installation, integration, training, upgrading, and continued operation. Most CIIMS expand and improve once installed, Pinkney said. So, a good ongoing relationship with your supplier is important.