MedInformatix, based in Los Angeles, has shared results of a survey that examined the state of the radiology information systems marketplace. The survey, which was launched on the show floor at the 2017 Radiological Association of North America annual meeting, looked at perspectives across the radiology landscape, from practices of all sizes and utilizing a wide range of industry RIS solutions, including Epic, McKesson, Carestream, Phillips, MedInformatix, and other systems.

“This survey provided some very interesting insight into the state of radiology information systems,” says Pat McGonigle, president and CEO of MedInformatix. “We have conducted surveys before, but always from a MedInformatix perspective. With this initiative, we zoomed out and looked at the larger radiology marketplace to gain a broader perspective of the issues, trends and topics now and into the future.”

Heading into what promises to be another unpredictable year in healthcare, McGonigle says it’s his hope that MedInformatix is perceived as an agent of positive change in the rapidly evolving and innovating world of healthcare information technology. “To the extent the results of this survey contribute to that, we are pleased to share its results.”

Key survey findings include:

Features and functionality drive selection: 58 percent of respondents ranked RIS features and functionality as the most important factor when selecting a new RIS. Customization was the second leading factor followed closely behind by cost. The brand name of the RIS provider and access to key personnel were distant factors.

Improved workflow is the goal: When it came to examining the output of a RIS, 58 percent of those polled listed improved workflow at their practice as the single biggest benefit they hope to achieve.

Access to data is important: Just over a quarter of respondents, 26 percent, listed access to business and clinical analytics and data as an intended benefit of their RIS, followed by efficiencies in revenue cycle management and improved patient-physician communications.

But how to use that data is a growing challenge: Like healthcare itself, the healthcare information technology sector is in an ongoing state of change, with increasing regulations and mandates imposing their will on a practice’s technology infrastructure. The Quality Payment Program is just one of the latest initiatives to have an impact on a practice’s RIS.

Despite these regulatory changes, some radiology providers see other challenges as more pressing, namely how they are able to leverage the data their practices house in their RIS. Close to 60 percent of those surveyed said the ability to leverage the data they have at their practice as the single biggest challenge they face, compared with just 26 percent of respondents who cited keeping up with industry regulations as their top concern.

According to McGonigle, the survey’s findings of accessing and leveraging data confirms what he hears from his company’s own customers. “We first detected a trend over a year ago suggesting data is both a mission-critical function as well as a mission-critical challenge for radiology providers of all sizes. As a result, our product development teams upgraded our system functionality to enable MedInformatix clients to turn their data into actionable business intelligence. The results have thus far been positive and we will continue to make this a priority moving forward.”

The industrywide survey was conducted in collaboration with Survey Monkey.