Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Is Your PACS Running on Empty?

Based on my discussions with other PACS professionals, as well as conversations I've had with PACS administrators in our training classes, I’ve come to the conclusion that most PACS run at about 20%-30% of their optimum efficiency, speed, and workflow effectiveness. 

Many PACS users are looking to replace their systems, but they might end up with the same inefficiencies and issues as with the PACS they replaced if they don’t make the effort to utilize new system to its fullest. 

What is missing? 

There are two major items that many users overlook. First is the absence of a re-engineered workflow. A department with needless duplication, unnecessary paperwork, and avoidable manual processes will only become more chaotic with a PACS implementation. 

The second missing item is a proper deployment of the Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) profiles. The IHE defined the scheduled workflow profile more than 10 years ago. It clearly defines how the proper use of Modality Performed Procedure Steps can eliminate many manual workflow actions and deliver better data integrity. 

However, when I poll PACS administrators in our training classes, less than 10% have implemented it. The sad part is that it does not seem to be getting better, but appears to be getting worse. As more smaller institutions and practices are implementing PACS, the level of IHE awareness seems to be proportional to the size of the institution. 

I recommend that anyone administering a PACS familiarize themselves with the profiles on the IHE Web site,http://www.ihe.net/profiles/index.cfm. If you’d like more information about them, please take a look at our free OTPedia resource, http://www.otpedia.com/index.cfm. Last but not least, watch our upcoming interactive Webcast on this topic. I am looking forward to your feedback on why you believe IHE implementation is still lagging.