June PACS News Digest

Picture archiving and communication system (PACS) technology is continually evolving. It adjusts to changes in standards, advancements in technology, facilities’ requirements, and healthcare regulations. It’s important to stay informed about the changes in healthcare that may impact the development, operation, maintenance, and growth of PAC Systems. Here are some recent news articles on PACS systems, imaging, and industry regulations.

Defeat of CA Imaging Legislation

California Senate Bill 1215 (SB1215), which sought to eliminate in-office exceptions for advanced modality imaging (including PET, CT, and MRI) from the state’s self-referral regulations, was defeated. Opponents of this legislation, including the ACC, the California Medical Association, and numerous medical groups, claimed that the bill would limit access to life-saving cardiovascular services as well as raise the cost to Medicare and patients.

Benefits of Remote Monitoring with ICD Patients

A study presented at Heart Rhythm 2014 demonstrates that remote monitoring provides improved outcomes for patients with implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs). The study reviewed over 22,000 first-time patients with ICDs who used remote monitoring. The findings showed that the patients who used remote monitoring had significantly lower risks of death and re-hospitalization. This supports the increased use of remote monitoring technology to improve patient outcomes.

ACR Lung Cancer Screening Designation

The American College of Radiology (ACR) has launched the ACR Lung Cancer Screening Center Program designation. This designation ensures that providers meet specific requirements for equipment, personnel, and imaging protocols. Program applicants must have active ACR CT accreditation in the chest module, and once the designation is received, the providers must use a follow-up system for structured reporting, managing recommendations, and referring patients.

Radiology Practice Model Outlook

A recent report by the Journal of the American College of Radiology shows that 41-51% of radiologists work in private practice. Although the private practice model still has the most popularity, interest has declined over the last ten years. The newest practice model, known as corporate radiology, is growing in response to the need for 24/7/365 radiology services via teleradiology. Hospitals account for 10% of radiologist employment, and that number is predicted to grow because the corporate radiology model is better positioned for bundled payments than the private practice model.

3D Printing of Medical Images

3D printing is increasingly common in medical applications. Radiologists and surgeons can make 3D datasets of 2D images. These 3D models are used for planning treatments, aiding diagnosis, and educating patients. A small study showed that the 3D images aided radiologists and physicians in reading CT data.

ICD-10 Deadline Extension

On March 31, Congress approved a bill to delay the implementation of ICD-10 until October 1, 2015. This is the second delay for the ICD-10 provision, which is a new diagnostic coding system that will drastically change medical billing systems. Once implemented, ICD-10 will result in a more time-consuming reimbursement process. Industry leaders are urging healthcare professionals to use the extra time to prepare for the changes.

Three Considerations when Switching PAC Systems

Thinking about switching to AccessPoint PAC system? If so, you’re probably wondering what to expect as you make the transition. Here are the three main concerns and questions clients face when making the switch with answers to ensure a smooth and successful implementation using AccessPoint.

Archives: What will happen to my patient data, images, and medical records? Will I lose information when transferring archived data into the new system?

Over 90 percent of PAC systems store images in DICOM format. If your current system uses the DICOM format, there’s no need to worry about lost data or difficulty accessing archived files and images. You can transfer your existing archives into AccessPoint with absolutely no trouble.

Reports: How will my reports change? Can I transfer old reports into the new system?

AccessPoint has its own system of customized reports, so some adjustments are necessary if you’re transferring existing reports as-is. However, Access Point’s reporting system is one of its most highly praised features—in fact, many clients choose to abandon their old reporting methods to take advantage of the customizable fields and features offered by AccessPoint. If you have specific questions or issues related to your transition, be sure to consult with our team of specialists—they’re available to help you convert your old reports if needed. The dynamic nature of our reports helps our clients adapt easily and quickly to the new format.

3. Workflows: Will adopting a new PACS mean changes to our workflows? How much will our current processes change?

Adopting a new PAC system will probably change your daily tasks to some degree. AccessPoint is a sequential system, and it requires actions to be completed in steps, which clients have found improves existing workflows. You’ll have lots of flexibility in how you choose to use the system, and our specialists are trained to help you adjust to the changes in your specific workflows and processes.

Customized Training and Support

As with any new technology, taking advantage of training and technical support will help you better utilize all the features of the new system. To ensure the smoothest transition possible, customized training is included with every purchase of AccessPoint. Our specialists will work with you to assess your needs and specific setup requirements before the implementation process even begins. We’ll make sure you have everything you need to facilitate a seamless conversion process. Although the transition may require some basic changes, it will save you time and money in the long run.

ASE Annual Scientific Sessions

This year the American Society for Echocardiography (ASE) will celebrate the Silver Anniversary of its Annual Scientific Sessions, an exciting five-day conference featuring a variety of educational opportunities.

Freeland Systems is pleased to be joining thousands of ultrasound clinicians, researchers, and healthcare providers who will travel to Portland, OR, to attend the conference from June 20-24, 2014. Designed to showcase the latest advances in cardiovascular ultrasound technology, the conference serves as a venue for face-to-face interactions among exhibiting companies, key decision makers, and renowned experts in the field of echocardiography.

Attended primarily by hands-on cardiologists who work with patients in hospitals, private clinics, and university settings, the ASE conference features an exhibit hall and a variety of educational sessions, including Science and Technology Theaters. There are multiple opportunities for medical equipment suppliers and pharmaceutical companies to showcase their products for cardiologists and cardiovascular sonographers from over 65 countries throughout the world.

Freeland looks forward to featuring Access Point Suite which includes BacPac, cPac, and cPac Pro, at the ASE Annual Scientific Sessions this year. You can find us in the exhibit hall at booth #417. We hope you’ll stop by to see us!