Here's a snapshot
The majority of our 407 survey respondents have the title of PACS administrator, earn $60,000 - $65,000 a year, have a Bachelor's degree and are in charge of the PACS at their facility which has 100 to 300 beds. The majority of PACS administrators have been in their current role for 1 to 3 years and are 35 to 40 years old. Most come from the Midwest and work for a multisite healthcare enterprise (with 6 to 10 locations) that logs 100,000 to 150,000 radiology procedures annually and is 90% to 100% filmless.
The fine print
Health Imaging & IT posted the online PACS administrator survey of 43 questions on January 26th on our website, healthimaging.com, and solicited participation from our web address database. Throughout the next seven weeks, 407 respondents completed the survey and emailed it to us for tabulation. Duplicate and incomplete surveys were eliminated.
Survey findings - The numbers talk
In this survey, some 54 percent of respondents identify themselves as PACS administrators, while 15.5 percent are RIS/PACS managers, 9 percent are PACS coordinators and 8 percent are systems administrators. While 82 percent are in charge of PACS operations, just more than a third share the responsibility. Similarly, 84 percent are a member of the PACS buying team.
Among the roles PACS administrators say are most important in their jobs are strong people and communication skills (94 percent), knowledge of RIS, HIS, HL7 and DICOM (74 percent), strong training skills (61.5 percent), strong negotiating and conflict resolution skills, team leadership (51 percent) and strong supervisory skills (31 percent).
PACS administrators are appreciated - receiving a raise this year of 1 to 3 percent (43 percent) or 3 to 6 percent (42 percent). Some 21 percent are reporting a 2005 bonus of less than $5,000. About 93 percent of PACS administrators provide on-call services, with 75 percent being on call 24/7. At least 73 percent say they get to share the on-call burden - with 47 percent saying there are 1 to 3 FTEs on the PACS admin staff. Some 43 percent say they have less than one FTE to share the work.
Most PACS administrators work for the radiology department (74 percent), while the other cluster work for the hospital IS/IT department (19 percent). They most often report to the chief or director of radiology. The majority say they found their job within their own facility or networking with peers. Also factoring in are recruiters, websites and newspaper ads.
PACS administrators are most often in the range of 35 to 40 years old (23 percent), 40 to 45 years old (20 percent) and 30 to 35 years old (17 percent). And most are rather new to PACS admin, logging 1 to 3 years (45 percent). Only 8 percent of PACS administrators have been in their positions longer than 6 years. Prior to being a PACS administrator, most respondents were chief technologists or technologists (38 percent). And many are loyal employees, with 25 percent having worked for their current employer for 3 to 6 years, followed by 17 percent at 1 to 3 years and another 30 percent for 6 to 15 years.
Training, or a lack of it, was as much a surprise this year as it was last. About 40 percent of PACS admins received no training, while another 50 percent received less than $5,000 for training. A total of 73 percent have received vendor training, with 44 percent having attended independent training. Other training reported includes CompTIA A+ (13 percent), MCSE (12 percent) and MCSA (7 percent).
We've also learned a lot about the facilities that employ PACS administrators. Most PACS administrators report working for a hospital of 100 to 300 beds, which surprised us slightly since PACS installations are more abundant at larger facilities despite the fact that there are more smaller facilities across the U.S. Another 21 percent work at a hospital with 300 to 500 beds and 13.5 percent work at a hospital with more than 700 beds. By region, the most respondents reside in the Midwest (26.5 percent), followed by the Southeast (22 percent), Northeast (18 percent) and Southwest (14 percent). In terms of annual imaging procedures, the bulk (77 percent) report volumes of 50,000 to 300,000.