Today, the efficiency of the health care system is determined by the quality of care physicians deliver to critical patients. Under pressure, information-based decision-making takes the lead.
It is important to ensure patient data is available and properly utilized for active decision-making. However, as it is present in different systems across innumerable healthcare providers, information may not be easily accessible to clinicians.
Integration of multiple systems enables innovation and efficiency. As such, several organizations have successfully overcome many challenges of internal inoperability and information silos across different departments. At the root, achieving real-time healthcare information integration is a real goal, not a reality, and that remains the truth for even some of the largest and technically superior entities.
Considering clinical disciplines, radiology remains the most vital source of quick wins related to cross-enterprise integration.
Radiology reports and images are the most critical components of patient medical history. It is critical to ensure all healthcare providers have access to these radiology reports to help lessen the cost by curtailing duplicate scans, redundant imaging, and distribution of reports.
Modern radiology facilities are all standard-compliant and digital. They use DICOM (digital imaging and communications in medicine) as a protocol together with HL7 (health level 7) messaging. As a result, you have a solid foundation to integrate data from RIS/PACS (radiology information system/picture archive and communication systems) into different programs. With this, electronic clinical decision support becomes more accessible.
Custom Approach vs. Best-Practices Approach
Organizations seeking PACS integration with EHR (electronic health records) struggle to determine the fundamental choice – whether they should come up with custom interfaces or simply rely on the best practices.
Under such circumstances, best practices work well. The method employs standard frameworks from its Integrated Healthcare Enterprise. With standard-based connectivity, rapid development, and open web architecture, an either/or option is not necessary.
Combining standard-based methods with customization yields efficiencies, which ensures a quick result. This does not require information duplication, established workflow changes, or expensive upgrades.
5 Considerations for RIS/PACS Integration
It is often challenging to acquire PACS for an imaging facility as it involves a lot of planning while considering future growth. Here are the give important highlights to consider for PACS:
1.Single Database: PACS is no longer restricted to the radiology departments. Other departments like pathology, ophthalmology, dermatology, and cardiology can use PACS for different purposes such as viewing images and storage. Hence, you should always choose a single database platform for quick access to all radiology images as well as patient data from any of the departments. This way, you can reduce costs and improve overall turnaround time together too.
2.Economic Justification: Imaging facilities should only consider a viable financial justification to acquire PACS. To assess whether the PACS system is cost-effective or not, consider the factors like tangible savings, the value of time for money, and quantitative worth of money. To calculate tangible savings, assess the reduction in the number of imaging films after introducing PACS. Assess the value of time for money by improving personnel productivity, for example, radiologists, technologists, and physicians. To assess the quantitative worth of money, calculate turnaround time improvement in the equipment as well as human resources. As a result, this would expedite the process of treatment, leading to patient and physician satisfaction, as both parties receive reports in due time.
3.Operative Functioning: Operative functions is one of the most important factors to consider when you want to acquire a PACS system. The imaging facility’s workflow must be in harmony with the new PACS. PACS should be customizable, adaptable, and improve the workflow of a facility. When PACS is workflow-driven, it can meet the workflow requirements of the imaging facility.
4.Scalability: Scalability is another crucial factor for an imaging facility. Imaging facilities must consider a scalable PACS concerning the current and future workflow. Precisely, PACS design should be aligned to keep up with the pace and accelerate growth. Imaging facilities must also ensure that the PACS provides offers unlimited users, workstations, and modalities, with flexible options for payment.
5.Security: The PACS you acquire should meet the HIPPA compliance guidelines. Choose a system that provides options for security, thus enabling the access of images only to those users who require it on a patient-to-patient basis.
Every Patient Is Important
When integration is concerned, it is only obvious to lose the context of patients involved. To plan an integration, imaging facilities must present individual patient care experiences and a clear picture across the gamut of care.
When clinicians can make quick, informed decisions all through the care cycle, it affects the overall quality of healthcare and ensures care is more cost-effective. Patients also appreciate having the fastest delivery of results and care.
When information exchange between all stakeholders is streamlined in care, it eradicates repeat order verifications, the duplicity of screening forms, redundant insurance-related services, etc. as a result, it reduces specialists’ time of tasks. Besides, it creates better health care experiences for patients.
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