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Radiol Manage. 2003 Mar-Apr;25(2):18-22.

Strengthening your ties to referring physicians through RIS/PACS integration.

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eMed Technologies, Burlington, Mass., USA.


Many imaging centers are turning to technology solutions to increase refering physician satisfaction, implementing such enhancements as automated report distribution, picture archiving and communications system (PACS), radiology information systems (RIS), and web-based results access. However, without seamless integration, these technology investments don't address the challenge at its core: convenient and reliable, two-way communication and interaction with referring physicians. In an integrated RIS/PACS solution, patient tracking in the RIS and PACS study status are logged and available to users. The time of the patient's registration at the imaging center, the exam start and completion time, the patient's departure time from the imaging center, and results status are all tracked and logged. An integrated RIS/PACS solution provides additional support to the radiologist, a critical factor that can improve the turnaround time of results to referring physicians. The RIS/PACS enhances the interpretation by providing the patient's history, which gives the radiologist additional insight and decreases the likelihood of missing a diagnostic element. In a tightly integrated RIS/PACS solution, results information is more complete. Physicians can view reports with associated images selected by the radiologist. They will also have full order information and complete imaging history including prior reports and images. Referring physicians can access and view images and exam notes at the same time that the radiologist is interpreting the exam. Without the benefit of an integrated RIS/PACS system, the referring physician would have to wait for the signed transcription to be released. In a seamlessly integrated solution, film-tracking modules within the RIS are fused with digital imaging workflow in the PACS. Users can see at a glance if a historical exam is available on film and benefit when a complete study history--both film-based and digital--is presented with the current case. It is up to the imaging center to market the benefits of reduced errors, reduced turnaround times, and a higher level of service to referring physician community, and encourage them to take advantage of the convenience it provides. The savvy imaging center will also regard the integrated RIS/PACS as a valuable marketing tool for use in attracting radiologists.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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