Document dilemma

It might be useful to re-open the subject of Document Scanning: [1] Where should the document objects be stored (PACS vs RIS), and [2] What would be the best file format for the scanned document object?

A number of radiology departments with PACS are currently managing scanned document objects in the PACS. Many of these PACS are managing the document objects as a DICOM Secondary Capture objects and storing the objects as a new series in the study file. This makes it easy for the radiologist to access and view the document along with the images. This also assures that documents can be migrated along with the study data, whenever necessary.

One of the problems with this method includes having to accommodate this new study series (document objects) in pre-existing hanging protocols. Another problem is the fact that all of these document objects subsequently travel everywhere the study file travels, ending up on display screens all over the enterprise.

Comments in favor of or against this approach are welcomed.

Time for a check-up?

There are probably a few PACS out there that have yet to fulfill all of the expectations.

So how much time after “go-live” should it take to achieve the goals that were originally set? Is it time for a check up?

There ís probably nothing seriously wrong with the system, certainly not enough to suggest it should be replaced. Maybe there are just little things, details that can only come to light after you’re up and running. A year or more of run time is more than enough experience with the system. By now you should be very close to achieving that drop in film demand. You should know exactly what the problems are, and how you’re going to correct them. If not, maybe it’s time for a check-up.

Take a look at these check-up questions and test yourself with the answers.

Check-up questions

  1. How close are you to achieving the drop in film costs projected in those pre-PACS plans? Exactly what is keeping you from reaching that goal?
  2. How many of the true image users in the referral community are still asking for film? What are your current plans for correcting that?
  3. How close are you to eliminating the problems caused by paper in the workflow?
  4. Have you thought of more than five ways to use the CD?
  5. What can you do to reduce the report turnaround time even further?
  6. Have you been successful establishing a “virtual seat” for the Emergency Department and high-value outpatient studies?
  7. What features unique to PACS have your radiologists adopted in an effort to attract more referrals?
  8. Besides sticking a display in the ED, what have you done to improve the workflow between the Emergency Department and Radiology?
  9. Who spends more time per study on QC tasks, your technologists or the system administrator?
  10. What is your long-term plan for the inevitable data migration?

Take the check-up test yourself, and let me know what the results were when you took it.