Fully featured voice recognition. Universal patient worklist. Multisite workflow efficiency. These were just some of the necessary features that RadCare Inc, the radiology division of EmCare of Dallas, sought in a brand-new PACS to service its 85 radiologists and 50 teleradiologists.
“A key requirement was the need to easily interface with disparate RIS/PACS platforms at the 22 hospitals we serve,” added David Walker, chief operating officer.
Since it began its search more than a year ago, RadCare has purchased the CARESTREAM SuperPACS Architecture, a solution that Walker says was the only one to satisfy his company’s needs. According to Carestream, its SuperPACS offers a global workflow engine to produce single patient worklist, embedded voice recognition, and the ability to interface with multiple PACS systems at various health care facilities.
Through its new PACS, RadCare sought to eliminate the requirement for radiologists to keep open multiple worklists for its various facilities. “Radiologists have to check these worklists continuously to see which exams need to be read next,” Walker said. “This manual process was time-consuming and not a productive use of our radiologists’ time. The bottom line is that we wanted a workflow that was as efficient and automated as possible so we could reduce the number of points where failure could occur. Our previous PACS contained many manual tasks, which necessitated extensive monitoring to ensure accurate and responsive reporting for the health care facilities we serve.”
RadCare also aimed to produce accurate receipt of its imaging exams, totaling 2 million studies annually. “Our previous PACS did not provide a way for us to validate that the entire imaging study was received by radiologists, which is especially important if there is any interruption in transmission,” Walker said.
In order to ensure it selected the best fit, RadCare spent about 6 months evaluating 10 vendors’ PACS systems. Once IT and administrative staff narrowed the list to three vendors, radiologists participated in on-site vendor demonstrations. Additionally, RadCare radiologists evaluated the top PACS candidates while attending last year’s RSNA tradeshow. After determining that it was the only platform to deliver all the key items off its checklist, RadCare ultimately chose Carestream’s SuperPACS Architecture.
According to Walker, the CARESTREAM SuperPACS is designed to interface efficiently with disparate RIS and PACS systems. Not only can it automatically pull patient information from the RIS and prior exams from the hospital’s PACS system, thereby eliminating manual sending of prior studies, but it also manages multiple patient IDs. This lessens possible confusion surrounding different patients with the same name or hospital ID number.
“The automated functionality of the SuperPACS allows our RadCare-affiliated radiologists to be more productive by reducing manual tasks and their associated risk for error,” Walker said.
“Carestream was the only vendor we found that communicates metadata among the worklist client, native server, and the hospital so we can verify the complete and accurate receipt of an imaging exam. This is especially important for after-hours reading where our goal is to provide a report in 30 minutes.”
Walker explained that previously, transmission interruptions would prevent verification of study receipt. “We had to resend the exam, which delayed the reading process,” he said. “The Carestream SuperPACS streams the data to our off-site workstation as it is being collected, so our providers can begin reading a study immediately as opposed to waiting for large files to download. This benefit allows us to provide an even higher level of patient care in emergency situations when time is most critical.”
Furthermore, an advanced universal worklist allows RadCare to prioritize and route imaging studies to the appropriate specialists, according to the type of exam. “Reading by radiologic subspecialists delivers a higher level of care and also gives our radiologists the ability to spend more time reading in their area of expertise,” Walker said.
To date, RadCare has brought two hospitals online and anticipates that all its affiliated hospitals will be linked to the SuperPACS Architecture by the year’s end.
“Although we have not yet completed implementations at all 22 hospitals, we are already seeing results: our radiologists are more productive, reports are delivered in less time, and overall operating expenses are reduced,” Walker said. “Our improved production and capability gives us a distinct competitive advantage as we continue to grow our business in today’s crowded marketplace.”