New Overarching Radiology Infrastructure

Nov. 12, 2009

Can Help IT Staffs Connect Disparate RIS/PACS.

Data-intensive modalities and burgeoning departmental information systems are stretching both the resources and budgets of healthcare IT staffs. Add to this the need to manage disparate RIS/PACS, and you have a migraine in the making.

Creating a link between different vendors’ RIS/PACS platforms is difficult. IT staffs are taking on this challenge because sharing patient records and imaging studies across a healthcare system can create a more efficient diagnostic process and enhance management of decentralized archives.

A new approach from Carestream Health addresses this issue. The SuperPACS™ Architecture collects patient and study information from each site’s RIS and PACS through a local CARESTREAM Agent and creates a centralized, synchronized database. This flexible, affordable solution achieves desired efficiency and productivity gains without requiring local facilities to replace existing RIS/PACS systems. It can also be expanded beyond radiology to include other “-ologies” to further
simplify management, optimize resources and reduce expenses.

Efficient Sharing of Patient Images, Data

The resulting virtual database allows patient data and images to be easily accessed by authorized users at on-site or remote locations. Under SuperPACS management, information can be efficiently shared among different facilities without the technical and network overhead required by direct PACS-to-PACS communication. Furthermore, data is efficiently transmitted by using lossless compression techniques instead of uncompressed DICOM files, which offer low performance.

The new architecture also creates a global worklist that streamlines radiology workflow by allowing radiologists at any location to view a list of unread exams across the entire healthcare system. Prior exams and patient history related to the current exam are also immediately available, regardless of where they are stored.

A global worklist speeds reading and reporting since radiologists can review exams captured anywhere in the system—not just local exams. The IT staff can give specialists higher priority for specific types of exams and create specialized reading protocols and folders. Images, annotations and measurements can be automatically sent back to the original RIS and PACS.

Streaming Technology Speeds File Transmission

The architecture’s intelligent streaming technology expedites the transmission of imaging studies—even over 10 megabit connections. This technology makes it practical for radiologists to read large image files from remote home or office locations that are outside the hospital network—and eliminates complaints about slow loading speeds. Push technology and management is also available, optimizing the communication process, while maintaining access and synchronization with the global worklist.

Faced with tight budgets, the SuperPACS Architecture allows managers to consolidate IT infrastructure across all sites to achieve higher data availability and disaster recovery solutions. Expensive and time-consuming data migrations can be reduced or eliminated, since data is easily accessed regardless of the system where it is stored or its physical location. Service to radiologists, referring physicians and their patients, and clinicians is improved—while the total cost of ownership is reduced. IT staffs also gain the flexibility to build more efficient enterprise repositories of patient-centric information.

The practice of healthcare is constantly evolving.  Linking RIS/PACS and other departmental systems to form an enterprise system can deliver greater user efficiency and streamlined management. New architectures that allow healthcare IT staffs to link existing RIS/PACS platforms are the first step in the latest evolution of healthcare information management technology.

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