Since 2005, the Picture Archiving Communication System, or PACS as it's commonly known, has been in use in the OCH Radiology Department. This system empowers hospital caregivers to spend more time administering care and less time administering processes, which is beneficial for caregivers and patients alike.
According to OCH Director of Radiology Glynn Stone, MSRT, PACS has not only improved the delivery of imaging services at OCH, but, more importantly, has created efficiencies that enhance the overall clinical experience. "By providing seamless access to information and streamlining workflow across our organization, PACS effectively improves decision-making and speeds the response time for diagnostic results," he said, explaining that the system is totally digital; all images are electronically stored and accessed through a unique configuration developed by the hospital's information technology services (ITS) department. He noted that the hospitals ITS department had worked diligently on the system created by McKesson Horizon Medical Imaging to customize it for a perfect fit within the hospital's infrastructure.
All services rendered through our department utilize the system. And, PACS is integrated with the hospital's overall information system, with the radiologist's report actually attached to each patient's medical images." According to OCH Staff Radiologist Michael Buehler, MD, benefits of PACS are numerous and far reaching. "Installation of this system required a substantial investment of time and money from the hospital, but in my opinion it has been worth it; it's easy to see that PACS has reduced expenses, improved work flow and enhanced patient satisfaction," he said.
"Access to a patient's images are available at the caregiver's fingertips immediately after the x-ray or scan, and the radiology department no longer has the expense, storage and location issues, or turn-around time associated with film. In addition, PACS helps reduce radiation exposure due to the fact that virtually no repeat testing is required, and it enables numerous physicians to review an image at the same time from different locations. We, as radiologists, have highly specialized diagnostic viewing stations to read, annotate, measure and manipulate images as do some specialty physicians, where medical imaging information is integral to the patient's plan of care."
Stone added that physicians are able to review the images immediately from the convenience of their offices or homes, and they have ready access to prior relative images and reports, which enables them to do comparisons and gain insight helpful in evaluation and diagnosis.
The director said yet another convenience provided by PACS is when patients request copies of their x-rays or scans, they are given to them as electronic files on disk, rather than as films in sleeves, which can be bulky and cumbersome. He stressed that PACS is a secure system, held to the overall privacy standards of the hospital and that patients are assured that their images and medical information are held in the strictest confidence.
For more information about PACS or services rendered through the OCH Radiology Department, contact Glynn Stone at (662)615-3082.