Its no secret that radiologists and technologists are in short supply. It also is common knowledge that film-based hospitals and radiology departments are riddled with inefficiencies. Raymond Geis, M.D., a radiologist with Poudre Valley Health System in Fort Collins, Colo., proves the case. Geis says studies show that clinicians spend 10 percent of their time in hospitals looking for films. Thats six minutes for the hour that a family physician spends at a hospital making rounds, but its one hour for the pulmonary physician who spends 10 hours a day at the hospital. Until recently, doctors affiliated with Poudre Valley Health System could count on tracking down films or having to wait for studies to arrive from the radiology department as part of their daily workload.
Today, the picture at Poudre Valley is quite different. Instead of chasing errant film studies, the pulmonary physician can review the studies at reading stations on any floor in the hospital or from the comfort of his or her own home. The difference is PACS. Poudre Valley purchased an Agfa IMPAX 4.0 Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) in 2000 and is about 80 percent filmless. Mike Haman, PACS Administrator for Loma Linda University (Loma Linda, Calif.), says, PACS is the holy grail of radiology. There is no downside.
Hospitals and clinics make the decision to go filmless for a variety of reasons. Many are looking to save money; others are trying to increase efficiency and improve workflow; and still others are attempting to stretch radiologists manpower during a labor shortage. Some hospitals want to employ high-technology to improve patient care and create a more patient-friendly environment. Others are hoping to attract referring physicians with Web-based PACS, which simplifies their ability to see patients at different hospitals. For most healthcare institutions, the decision to go filmless arises from a variety of factors. And hospitals purchasing Agfas IMPAX technology are reaping the benefits of the state of the art PACS.
Please refer to the November 2001 issue for the complete story. For information on article reprints, contact Martin St. Denis