Through the power and reach of the web, the world of health imaging is being empowered - with a complete flow of information from radiology to specialists, to referring physicians, and even to the patient.
The benefits of Web-based PACS
Radiologists (literally) are further satisfied when healthcare providers distribute digital images via a web-based PACS enterprise-wide and remotely. Additionally, referral physicians and clinicians benefit. The web offers doctors easier access to patient images from any PC located within or outside of the hospital, whereas film-based access is cumbersome and more time-consuming.
With Web-based PACS, workflow is reengineered and the boundaries of medical care are redefined. Think of Inland Imaging, for example. Spokane-based medical imaging provider provides imaging services to 14 hospitals and clinics in northern Idaho and Washington. It is composed of 55 radiologists, five vascular surgeons, and 350 employees.
Philips Medical Systems' iSite Enterprise PACS (formerly Stentor iSite PACS) provides secure access from physician offices and from home to store and distribute digitally acquired diagnostic images to radiologists, surgeons, and other physicians across 14 hospitals. All hospitals are virtually connected due to the PACS.
- Leveraging the web
- Better quality of care
A web-based PACS was also chosen by Capital Health System. Dynamic Imaging's Integral Web PACS, which provides complete capabilities and authorized access from any PC connected to the hospital's dual campus, acute-care teaching hospital in Trenton, New Jersey.
Which was the reason for choosing Web-based PACS Systems? Yaakov Applbaum, MD, chairman of radiology at Capital, says "Films were getting lost."
The stories of the trauma surgeons where a patient would be moved to CT following hip filming in the trauma bay were my favorites. By the time the patient was at the CT, the hip films had been destroyed. Our survival depended upon PACS internally. We wanted to be competitive with other hospitals in the area and make it easier for referring physicians to access patient images once we purchased a PACS. Our system has the same functionality outside of the hospital as it does inside; we chose a web-based solution to facilitate that."
Applbaum says radiologists are able to perform everything the hospital's PACS can do remotely. Physicians should be able to use the system both within and outside the hospital, without having to recognize the difference. In addition to the simplicity of use, we also sought it. The system had to be able to download the software without a CD. Using a username and password, the physician is able to log onto a website and retrieve information about their patient.
After replacing their existing PACS with Amicas' Vision Series web-based system, Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Md., moved its radiology services onto a web-based environment. Jim Stalder, CIO of Mercy, says there was once a perception that PACS was a tool for the radiologist or their department. While that is certainly true, the people who refer patients for [medical imaging] exams also need better access to this information. In many circumstances, the referring physician will also want the film depending on the specialty. In addition to the burden on the doctor, managing and carrying film is a burden on the patient."
Applbaum notes that every PACS improves hospital workflows. It helps physicians outside of the hospital keep track of their patients, whether they are inpatients or outpatients, via the web-based system.
"[With PACS based on the web], you cannot compare the quality of patient care," Applbaum continues. Using this system, an orthopedist or pediatrician can quickly access images taken of children for [studies].
Physicians can treat children much more quickly and efficiently when they examine chest x-rays and identify pneumonia or fractures. The care of patients is obviously affected by this. Patient care quality can only be improved in a one-way fashion."