Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Top ten PACS SA skills to support new trends and technologies.

The PACS system administrators’ (SA) profession is relatively young, i.e. 15 years at the most.
As a PACS SA professional, it is critical to keep up with new developments to make sure that you can support the intricacies and ever widening range of clinical specialties and technologies of these systems. Let’s look at some of the major changes in technology and their scope and how they impact the required competencies needed to support these.

1.       Detailed DICOM data format knowledge and basic coding familiarity.
2.       Familiarity with HL7 order structure to perform the DICOM mapping correctly.
3.       Implementing basic security measures and creating tools for data mining and analyzing audit trails.
4.       A SA needs to know how to use the most common tools such as Crystal reporting and even basic SQL commands to perform custom queries of databases.
5.       Familiarity with the EMR, and with mobile applications to support the remote image access.
6.       Evaluate the specifications of the HIE’s and match those with the ones of his or her PACS system.
7.       A good understanding of the so-called DICOM SOP Classes to anticipate new modalities.
8.       Implementing a “Deconstructed PACS, requiring a SA to have troubleshooting skills, and know how to evaluate log files, use DICOM sniffers and validation tools.
9.       Know how to look at HL7 messages and interpret them to allow for testing, integration and troubleshooting.
10.   Last but not least, the SA becomes, not only a mentor, but also trainer and second level support, otherwise it becomes unmanageable. This requires very good teaching and training skills.

As a healthcare imaging and IT professional it is important to stay up-to-date, and there are plenty of learning opportunities to do this, so there is no excuse for a lack of knowledge and/or skills to meet the increasing demands of this exciting field. For a more detailed breakdown and about the why and how of these skills, you can access the complete white paper from OTPedia, our healthcare IT web resource here.