Successful RIS/PACS implementation hinges on multiple factors?ease of use, efficiency, robust features, services and more. Also critically important on the list of ingredients for success is integration.
Indeed integration may be the glue that holds together all of the various facets. Moreover, mounting pressure on radiologists increases the importance of integration. That is, radiologists are expected to be key players in managing imaging utilization and communicating with referring physicians not only about the results of imaging studies but also prior to the ordering of studies. It’s an expectation that runs counter to traditional pressures of efficiency.
Without sufficient, robust integration, it becomes exceedingly difficult for radiologists to balance the need for efficiency with rising expectations for clinical collaboration and communication.
This lesson was confirmed in a study published in the July issue of Journal of American College of Radiology.
Matthew B. Morgan, MD, of the department of radiology at the University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City, and co-authors, reported that integrating decision support into PACS significantly increases the likelihood that physicians will use the software.
Equally critical, however, is the finding that integration should occur at the time of implementation. When the researchers tested physician use of the software when it was integrated several months after the initial implementation, users were less likely to use clinical decision support than physicians in a control group in which software was immediately integrated into PACS.
It’s a message that has been expressed hundreds and perhaps thousands of times in case studies and user groups. The Morgan study, however, amplifies the key role of integration by providing hard data about its value.
The upshot? As organizations are shopping for PACS and clinical software, they need to thoroughly assess integration capabilities and plan for robust integration from the get-go. Doing so sets the stage for physician adoption and efficient operations.
Do you have an integration success story? If so, please share it with us.
Lisa Fratt, Editor