The picture archiving and communication system (PACS) has evolved over the years from its beginnings as just for radiology, to present use as a means for the entire healthcare enterprise to capture, store and share all types of images. Because of this organization-wide integration PACS and other electronic medical systems such as EMR (electronic medical records) and RIS (radiology information systems) will need to communicate more than ever. The relationship between PACS and EMR may be more intimate moving forward and perhaps, even more, content will be expected of radiologists.
Now that electronic medical records are near universal in hospitals, and physician office settings, integration between PACS and the EMR is imperative. “Hey, I’m seeing this patient in the clinic, I am in the EMR, and I click the link and it launches the PACS or enterprise viewer. I think it needs to get a little bit more integrated than that.” states Chris Tomlinson: Senior Director of Radiology, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. (“Enterprise Imaging Roundtable”). With both EMR and PACS in almost all healthcare facilities, imaging professionals want a solution that they can quickly view. All healthcare professionals need information about a patient, an image, or a study without much effort. Tomlinson continues “He doesn’t want to have to go back and forth between the EMR and the enterprise viewer. They want to see the patients in their bed order, so when they’re rounding, they can see the images very quickly and not have to do a search per patient.” (“Enterprise”).
To solidify this relationship PACS and EMR need to share information seamlessly across platforms, so imaging professionals can view what is necessary more easily. The data that is collected by these systems is crucial in improving healthcare, with each system holding important pieces to the data puzzle. “Radiologists want clinical information from the EMR. As for clinicians, some are content to allow the radiologist’s report to determine whether image review is needed, while others review on PACS every study ordered,” adds Kevin McEnery: Director of Innovation and Imaging Informatics and Professor of Radiology, University of Texas. (“Enterprise”). With information and data being fundamental to the success of this PACS and EMR relationship radiologists will be pressured to create information, not just images. This added pressure for informational content extends to making access to information and images more efficient, not only for radiologists but clinicians and patients. “I don’t think the EMR redefines PACS necessarily, but I do think it redefines the radiologist and the expectation for information they have available to them,” continues Kevin McEnery. (“Enterprise”).
Perhaps the best way to incubate this relationship is making it easier for radiologists and clinicians to collaborate in real-time with one another. “Having radiologists and clinicians collaborating in the same EMR platform should provide all with better integration of all pertinent clinical information resulting in imaging reports that are informed by the entire clinical presentation and not simply by a single, provided clinical indication,” Kevin McEnery. Having an added level of interaction between radiologists and clinicians frees up professionals to provide better patient care. Better patient care that’s being delivered through rich information. “We’re data rich and information poor,” chimes in Rasu Shrestha: Chief Innovation Officer of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. (“Enterprise”). The relationship between PACS and EMR will only flourish when information and data can be shared freely across the platform. “Data itself is good, but what we seek is context so that we can get at the relevant insights that are, in turn, actionable,” Rasu Shrestha.
“Enterprise Imaging Roundtable: Goals and Strategy …” Insert Name of Site in Italics. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Sep. 2016 <http://www.radiologybusiness.com/topics/imaging-informatics/enterprise-imaging-r