PACS powers process improvement

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”The unexamined life is not worth living,” as Socrates famously remarked, and recent research from Europe would seem to indicate that not examining metrics from PACS implementation can short-change the successful deployment and development of the technology in a healthcare facility.

A retrospective, five-year study of PACS at a British hospital uncovered mixed results from a PACS implementation. Published in the British Medical Journal, the study results revealed efficiency gains from the technology were about 50 percent effective.

PACS implementation resulted in fewer x-ray exam repeats ordered by clinicians. The researchers wrote that they believe that PACS enables a clinician to access the patient’s radiological examination history during the outpatient appointment, resulting in less duplicate exams being ordered.

However, they reported that CT procedures saw an increase in repeats for the inpatient population, as well as an uptick in requested CT outpatient procedures. The facility was not aware of the CT data, and could offer no explanation for the results, according to the researchers.

In related news, a PACS maturity model developed by a pair of Dutch researchers may help healthcare facilities in organizational assessments, monitoring and benchmarking their PACS implementations.

The five-level model, constructed from a meta-analysis of scientifically verified PACS literature, allows a hospital or practice to measure the current state of its PACS deployment against tangible reference points. These metrics can assist as a tool for developing the capabilities of deployed PACS technology to achieve greatest benefit from the system.

If you’re looking to bolster the PACS capabilities of your practice, please stop by our Healthcare Tech Guide. We have listings for vendors, systems, services and white papers for a variety of products spanning the healthcare environment.

In closing, if you have a comment or report to share about how you’ve measured the effectiveness of PACS in your practice or facility, or how its deployment has changed existing processes, please contact me at the address below. I look forward to hearing from you.

Jonathan Batchelor, Web Editor