Trouble in Multi-PACS Paradise
Is the trouble with a multi-PACS environment
the technology or the marketplace?
By Mary Beth Massat
Radiology is faced with a market paradox. Even as the radiologist shortage continues, the U.S. market for medical imaging equipment is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 8.1 percent through 2012. This growth will further drive remote radiology reading and teleradiology services, which has already gained a strong foothold thanks to continued advancements in webbased technologies. Download Full PDF File
Yet, even as web technology spurs the growth of teleradiology, many radiology practices find themselves in the midst of a new dilemma: namely the creation of a multi-PACS reading environment.
You would think that the existence of search engines such as Google with the ability to aggregate an infinite amount of data would imply that sophisticated data management would be ubiquitous. But the medical industry defies this logic. On the contrary, in the PACS arena, radiology departments are struggling to streamline the data needed to complete a patient report. A large part of the challenge is gathering images from disparate PACS. Download Full PDF File
A practice that reads off a different PACS client for each site they read for is referred to as ‘maniac’ PACS, according to Paul Nagy, Ph.D., associate professor, Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, University of Maryland Medical Center. Download Full PDF File
“If you combine information from multiple, separate institutions onto the same PACS, you run into another problem. There is a significant amount of back-end work needed when importing to correct the data, such as matching to the medical record number for relevant priors, just so the radiologist can begin reading and compare them side-by-side,” said Nagy. He estimates the time to curate outside studies could easily run as high as 15-20 minutes to import a study from an outside institution.