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Benefits Of RIS Pacs Integration

The radiology environment depends on many systems, including radiology information systems (RIS) and picture archiving and communication systems (PACS). These platforms and numerous others play key roles in running a healthcare organization, but they do not always play nicely with other systems in the industry. In settings from primary care facilities to multi-specialty clinics to imaging centers, accessing and sharing imaging records is an important part of care.

Imaging platforms, like RIS and PACS, need to communicate with each other and other systems in your workflow, such as electronic health records (EHRs). Integrating every part of the radiology environment — including those elements that do not natively communicate — can help providers work more efficiently, reduce errors and better manage data flow.

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The Advantages of Integrating RIS, PACS and Other Systems

RIS and PACS already offer many benefits by eliminating physical records and improving accuracy and efficiency. When integrated with each other and other systems, the advantages go even further, allowing users to pull PACS images from directly within a RIS or EHR and make other time-saving moves.

The healthcare environment adds complexity to any kind of communication between systems, with strict demands for recordkeeping, data security, efficiency and other processes. Integration streamlines this communication, so practices can seamlessly link up images, records, practice management information and other pieces of data to reap a wide range of benefits, including:

1. Increased Efficiency

Using disconnected systems can slow down everyone involved in sharing, distributing and interpreting results:

  • Providers: Users must jump between platforms when they need information and take extra steps to ensure security. They may need to juggle multiple sets of login information and duplicate data across the two systems, adding redundancy to the workday. Integration can greatly boost efficiency, allowing users to limit administrative work and speed up patient visit times.
  • Other practices: Many imaging groups work with dozens, if not hundreds of practices. Keeping the systems of each in order can be challenging, risky and time-consuming. Integration allows for communication within a familiar, centralized interface, so employees do not need to navigate varying systems every day.
  • IT teams: IT teams have to deal with added complexity, managing platforms as separate entities. While some types of integration still require this management style, others, like the Happe suite of products, allow you to offload it to the cloud and a knowledgeable third party. IT teams can redirect themselves toward more strategic initiatives that move the practice forward, rather than day-to-day maintenance.
  • Patients: Inefficient processes can extend patient wait times and make it harder for them to get speedy answers for important results. By integrating PACS, RIS and other systems, providers can focus on delivering a better patient experience and improving outcomes.
The Advantages Of Integrating Ris And Pacs

2. Centralization

Data silos in healthcare can cause myriad problems. Within a practice, they can prevent collaboration, contribute to outdated or inaccurate data and reduce efficiency. Across the healthcare industry, silos can inhibit innovation and limit data access, which can be crucial for quick, effective responses to public health crises. Removing silos is one of the main goals of the Data Modernization Initiative launched in 2020.

Integrating healthcare systems in radiology and other disciplines can help centralize information and provide secure yet accessible data from one place. Many radiology practices work independently or even via teleradiology, so these integrations support a more connected industry overall. RIS and PACS can communicate with each other along with other systems, such as EHRs or billing platforms, without cumbersome or error-prone steps.

3. Fewer Errors

Every human intervention creates a point for potential errors, especially when you are working with physical media. Radiology platforms can eliminate paper-based records, and integration allows them to communicate directly. It eliminates the intermediary and supports immediate, dependable access that pulls from a shared database.

Radiology system integration can also enable automation, such as data entry, reporting and auditing. Since the healthcare industry offers no room for error, these tools can help practices mitigate risk and reduce the costs associated with fixing and detecting errors. Advanced tools like artificial intelligence even support error detection, helping radiologists to detect anomalies and make more informed diagnoses.

4. Improved Decision-Making

A cohesive ecosystem offers a much richer view of patient information. By incorporating easy access to data from each system, providers and technologists can quickly read, understand and act on diverse inputs, bringing together patient records, imaging results, labwork and other components that make up the full picture of a patient’s health.

For example, accessing the huge image file contained in a PACS is as simple as clicking on a link, rather than leaving an EHR or another platform, logging into a new system and finding the right record. Providers can see images and reports from the same system, improving their chances of finding problems and making the right diagnosis.

The Challenges and Future of Radiology Systems Integration

Integrating systems like PACS and RIS used to be difficult due to formatting restrictions and security protocols. PACS, for example, were limited to Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) formats, while most other systems used Health Level 7 (HL7) as a protocol for sending secure text-based messages.

Integrations had to use a “broker” to translate HL7 messages into a DICOM format the PACS could read securely. Thankfully, most systems can now work with both formats, so integration with and between imaging-related platforms is not nearly as challenging as it may have been in the past.

Other potential issues include having a large suite of systems to integrate and the downtime associated with the integration process. Working with the right partner can greatly reduce these problems. Here at Tangible Solutions, we use a hub-and-spoke model. We work directly with EHR, RIS, PACS as well as other vendors and can take care of connecting your systems to the cloud. You will not need to hire or reallocate internal staff, and we work to implement solutions with minimal interruptions.

Cloud-based integrations are paving the way forward for healthcare ecosystems. With the cloud, you can reduce the workload for your IT team, which can spend less time managing on-site servers and systems. It also provides a centralized database, support for AI and easy scalability. If your business needs change, a cloud-based system allows you to adjust your environment to meet those demands.

How Tangible Does Pacs And Ris Integration

How Tangible Does Radiology Systems Integration

Integrating PACS, RIS and other systems, related to imaging workflows, can be a significant advantage for medical and radiology practices, but it should not add unnecessary complexity or IT demands. At Tangible, we facilitate the technical aspects of integration and factor in your existing clinical workflows to build the ideal solution for your team. We deliver systems integration through Happe, our healthcare application ecosystem.

Happe can deliver URLs to large images in the PACS, electronically transmit orders and results between providers and facilitate a host of other communications. We make it easy to connect with unparalleled technical support and customized solutions. Whether your goal is to boost efficiency, improve errors, reduce IT demands or something else entirely, our knowledgeable team can help.

To learn more about Happe, get in touch with a representative today!