Web technology makes it possible for doctors to refer patients directly to specialists as well as to referring doctors and even to patients via radiology. Digital images are distributed nationwide and over the Internet via the PACS that is hosted on the web, increasing radiologists’ satisfaction (literally). Additionally, referral physicians and clinicians gain from the program. The web gives doctors easier access to patient images, regardless of whether they are on or off campus, as opposed to traditional film-based access, which is more difficult and time-consuming.
Web-based PACS redefine medical care boundaries and redesign workflow. Consider Inland Imaging as an example. An Idaho and Washington company offers medical imaging services to 14 hospitals and clinics. It also has 55 radiologists and five vascular surgeons in addition to its 350 employees.
The iSite Enterprise PACS (formerly Stentor iSite PACS) from Phillips Medical Systems allows physician offices and patients to access digitally acquired diagnostic images. Using digitally acquired diagnostic images, radiologists and surgeons get access to diagnostic imaging at 14 hospitals. Virtual communication between hospitals is possible with the PACS.
Utilizing the web
Additionally, Capital Health System chose an online PACS. The hospital’s staff has access to all the features and capabilities of its teaching hospital, which is located near Trenton, New Jersey, using Integrated Web PACS from Dynamic Imaging.
What was the driving force behind the choice of web-based PACS? The head of Capital University’s radiology department, Yaakov Applbaum, PhD, says that the films were lost.
It was a trauma surgeon who moved a patient into the trauma bay after hip filming that was one of my favorite trauma stories. Upon arrival at the CT clinic, the hip films had been destroyed. It was vital to the survival of PACS internally. For competitive reasons and to improve referral physician access to patient images, we purchased a PACS system. “To facilitate that, we selected a web-based solution that works in both the hospital and outside it.”
PACS allows radiologists to perform all of their work remotely. It should be possible for physicians to use this system both inside and outside the hospital. Besides simple use, we looked for it as well. A CD-free download was required. Patient information can be accessed on a website by registering an account.
Amicas’ web-based Vision Series system was installed at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, MD, as well as its radiology department. Radiologists and department researchers have long viewed PACS as only a tool for research, according to Jim Stalder, CIO of Mercy. As it pertains to [medical imaging] exams, referring physicians also need access to this information. A specialist may also want to view the film if the referring physician is one. In addition to the burden on the doctor, the patient has to manage and carry film.”
Providing better care
Hospital workflow is improved by PACS, according to Applbaum. Patients, whether inpatients or outpatients, can be tracked by physicians outside the hospital, using this web-based system.
Applbaum says, “[With PACS based on the web] the quality of patient care cannot be compared.” Children’s images can be accessed by pediatricians and orthopedists with this system for [study purposes]. Children who undergo chest X-rays to determine whether they have pneumonia or fractures can be treated more rapidly and efficiently. It is obvious that this has an impact on patient care. Patient care quality can only be improved in one way.”
PACS vs. DICOM
Due to their close relationship, they are easy to mix up. Medical images can be acquired, stored, and reviewed using PACS, whereas DICOM is the standard for converting all medical files.
Medical records can be exchanged, viewed, and stored using the DICOM language regardless of whether they are stored on a PACS, RIS, or EHR. As a result, medical software usually supports DICOM, which allows users to share information easily across a variety of devices.
PACS in the cloud: its benefits
PACS cloud systems have similarities with regular PACS systems, but they differ greatly in one crucial way: they use cloud-based servers to store and run their applications.
Data is hosted and maintained by the Cloud PACS system vendor in this case. On the DICOM cloud, medical imaging data is easily accessed and highly secure.
The computer network has been widened greatly by the cloud-based PACS system, allowing more display types to be connected. Users of HTML5-enabled devices can access online DICOM viewers.