Three Considerations when Switching PAC Systems
06.19.14

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.



A Tour of cPac
05.15.14

Ever wondered what cPac and cPac Pro look like? Here’s a visual tour through some of the highlights. If you’d like to see more, use our demo request form to request a one-on-one demo session with our cPac team.

 

cPac users login at the portal home where we share the latest news and additions to the application.

cPac users login at the portal home where we share the latest news and additions to the application.

 

The patient search screen allows users to search using many data types. These include web studies, name, date range, read, unread. etc.

The patient search screen allows users to search using many data types. These include web studies, name, date range, read, unread, etc.

 

The image viewer allows users to view photo and videos from an easy to use web interface.

The image viewer allows users to view static and dynamic images from an easy to use web interface.

 

Image thumbnails are accessed using a drop down menu so you have instant access to individual frames and files.

Image thumbnails are accessed using a drop down menu so you have instant access to individual frames and files.

 

The report editor allows for the entry of patient demographics, measurements and observations.

The report editor allows for the entry of patient demographics, measurements and observations.

 

Observations can be chosen from a defined list and notations are easily added to the selections.

Observations can be chosen from a defined list and notations are easily added to the selections.

 

When complete, you can preview your report directly in the browser before finalizing.

When complete, you can preview your report directly in the browser before finalizing.

 

cPac also features a "Data Miner" tool which uses specific parameters to pull useful data. Queries include: display all patient exams that were done during last quarter, how many echo studies we done last month, how many studies did a specific doctor read, etc.

cPac also features a “Data Miner” tool which uses specific parameters to pull useful data. Queries include: display all patient exams that were done during last quarter, how many echo studies we done last month, how many studies did a specific doctor read, etc.



More Power from PowerScribe 360 with AccessPoint Integration
04.24.14

PowerScribe 360 with AccessPoint IntegrationDidn’t think AccessPoint by Freeland Systems could get any better? Well, with the addition of PowerScribe 360, it just did. The feature-rich PAC system designed for comprehensive reporting, imaging, and archiving also offers customizable add-ons so that you can tailor the software to your unique needs. This is where PowerScribe 360 comes in.

PowerScribe 360 is an advanced reporting program that creates diagnostic imaging interpretations at a faster turn-around rate and with a wide variety of exam types. This cutting edge add-on assimilates seamlessly into the existing workflow within your organization, providing for a win-win situation: higher-quality documentation in less time than ever before. PowerScribe 360 offers the best reading, reporting, dictation, and transcription services in the industry, with real-time speech recognition, dictation options, and superb report status management.

We can provide you with a simple and effective way to integrate your PAC system with PowerScribe 360, enabling you to auto-populate measurements from almost any machine. This added feature allows you to enjoy advanced reporting quality, a more efficient work environment, and improved care within a single solution platform.



Echo Parameters – Ventricular Dimensions
04.10.14

Echocardiograms are commonly performed to check for abnormal heart sounds, look at the heart valves, check the thickness and movement of the heart wall, measure the size and shape of the heart’s chambers, detect heart disease, and look for blood clots.

This imaging method has many other diagnostic applications as well. During an echocardiogram, a transducer sends high-pitched sound waves into the chest and picks up the echoes as they reflect off the heart. These echoes are sent to a video screen to be displayed in motion.

An echocardiogram collects an abundance of data, including the size and shape of the heart, the pumping capacity, and the location of any tissue damage. The Intersocietal Commission for Accreditation of Echocardiography Laboratories (ICAEL) provides standards for echo measurements.

Ventricular Dimensions

One data set that an echocardiogram provides is ventricular dimensions. These measurements are often gathered in M-mode or 2D echocardiography and commonly include the following types:

  • IVSd and IVSs – Interventricular septal end diastole and end systole. The normal range is 0.6-1.1 cm.
  • LVIDd and LVIDs – Left ventricular internal diameter end diastole and end systole. The normal range for LVIDd is 3.5-5.6 cm, and the normal range for LVIDs is 2.0-4.0 cm.
  • LVPWd and LVPWs – Left ventricular posterior wall end diastole and end systole. The normal range is 0.6-1.1 cm.
  • RVDd – Right ventricular end diastole. The normal range is 0.7-2.3 cm.
  • Ao Root Diam – Aortic root diameter. The normal range is 2.0-4.0 cm.
  • LA Diameter – Left atrium diameter. The normal range is 2.0-4.0 cm.

The IVSd and IVPWd measurements are used to determine left ventricular hypertrophy, which is the thickening of the muscle of the left ventricle. LV hypertrophy is a marker for heart disease. In general, a measurement of 1.1-1.3 cm indicates mild hypertrophy, 1.4-1.6 cm indicates moderate hypertrophy, and 1.7 cm or more indicates severe hypertrophy.

PACS Reporting Benefits with AccessPoint

AccessPoint offers customizable templates that are based on accreditation-compliant metrics. The reporting tool can generate the custom forms and systematically log echo results such as the ventricular measurements listed above. This feature automatically provides comprehensive data in the preferred format so that the cardiologist can quickly and easily interpret the report.



2014 Tax Considerations When Purchasing a PACS
03.27.14

Purchasing a PACS system is a big investment. You want to make sure that you purchase a system that will work with your practice for a long time to come. One of the decisions you have to make is whether you want to purchase the PACS outright, lease it, or chose one of many payment options, such as the fee per study option. How you choose to pay for your PACS will impact your yearly taxes.

There are two basic tax classifications for the purchase of a PACS: capital asset or operational expense. If you classify your PACS as a capital asset, then the PACS is purchased outright with the cost being amortized over time and treated as a write off. This method is ideal if you have a set amount of cash on-hand and want to lower your total cost over time. When a PACS is classified as an operational expense, the cost of the system will be paid out of monthly expenses. Any time you purchase cloud-based services, you will classify that as an operational expense.

Capital Asset

If you purchase your PACS outright, you can deduct the cost under Section 179 of the IRS Tax Code. Section 179 allows businesses to deduct the total cost of equipment and software purchased for business use at once, rather than depreciating the cost of the purchase over several years. This essentially allows customers to accelerate depreciation of the equipment and the related tax savings. In past years, Section 179 was a major buying incentive for consumers. Last year, customers who purchased $2 million or less of equipment or software could deduct up to $500,000 on their taxes. The benefit for purchases over $2 million decreased on a dollar to dollar deduction scale. In addition, a depreciation bonus allowed for the immediate depreciation of 50% of the cost of new equipment beyond the $500,000 limit.

However, in 2014, the deduction cap was lowered from $500,000 to $25,000 for purchasing $200,000 or less, and the bonus depreciation expired. This means that, depending on the cost of your PACS, there may not be as high of a tax incentive to buy outright.

Operational Expense

When customers lease equipment or software, or pay for software as a service (SaaS) the total amount of yearly expenses can be deducted as an operational expense. The cloud-based options fall under this classification. Although it may cost you more over the long term, leasing or paying for software as a service may have an increased tax benefit in 2014 and save you more money in the short term. And, since SaaS doesn’t depreciate, you can recognize these tax deductions every year.

Summary

Each of these options has advantages and disadvantages, and it’s best to talk to your accountant to see which option is the best fit for your practice. Knowing which option will save you more in taxes may impact your budget and purchasing decisions. 



Using Multiple Data Sources with AccessPoint
03.20.14

AccessPoint provides multiple paths for different data sources to be imported and viewed. When you log in to AccessPoint, the system automatically populates studies that are transferred from the equipment to the database through the DICOM Transfer Protocol. However, you may want to access studies from another data source, such as a CD, USB drive, another network, or from another PACS. The following three data source types may be configured in AccessPoint:

DICOM Path

A DICOM path allows you to configure a DICOM directory from removable media, such as a CD, USB drive, or downloaded folder. This data source is commonly used when images are transferred by a referring physician.

Configure a DICOM Path

  1. Click the Tools drop-down menu from the main toolbar.
  2. Click Data Source Manager.
  3. Click the New button to open the Data Source Type dialog box.
  4. Select the DICOM Path radial button to open the DICOM Path Setting dialog box.
  5. Type the display name and path.
  6. Click OK.

Local Network Database

The Local Network Database path allows you to configure data saved on another server. For example, your PACS may be configured to import data from your main office. If you want to access data from a remote office that is set up on its own server, you can use the Local Network Database path to transport that data and keep it in a separate tab from the main office data.

Configure a Local Network Database

  1. Click the Tools drop-down menu from the main toolbar.
  2. Click Data Source Manager.
  3. Click the New button to open the Data Source Type dialog box.
  4. Select the Local Network Database radial button to open the Network Database dialog box.
  5. Type the Display Name.
  6. Select a network from the Network Computer drop-down.
  7. Select a database from the Database drop-down.
  8. Click OK.

DICOM QueryRetrieve

The DICOM QueryRetrieve path allows you to import data from another PACS. This option might be used if a multi-site practice wants to access data from an old PACS and use that data to run AccessPoint reports. This option involves two-way configuration and requires network information to set up. This configuration is usually completed by a network administrator.

Configure a DICOM QueryRetrieve

  1. Click the Tools drop-down menu from the main toolbar.
  2. Click Data Source Manager.
  3. Click the New button to open the Data Source Type dialog box.
  4. Select the DICOM QueryRetrieve radial button to open the Dicom QueryRetrieve Settings dialog box.
  5. Type the input for the following fields:

a)     Display Name
b)     Server Name
c)     Server AE Title
d)     IP Address
e)     Port Number

  1. Click OK.

Benefits of Multiple Paths

A tab will open for each new data source that is configured. Once a data source has been configured, the new tab will appear each time you log in. The tab view separates each study by its data source, so the user always knows which data source the study came from. The system recognizes which data source each study belongs to, and it configures the reporting finalized action based on the data source. For example, if a physician signs a report from a DICOM DIR, the signed report is automatically saved back to the DICOM DIR folder. Contact Technical Support if you have more questions about using multiple data sources.

 



cPac Pro Case Study
03.06.14

What Happens When a Multi-Site Cardiology Practice Chooses cPac Pro for Digital Image Management? 

Time for a New PACS
The 14 physicians at a multi-site cardiology practice were tired of shuffling outmoded image records. They ran seven study types using nuclear and ultrasound imaging from different manufacturers. The doctors wanted to have access to every digital image from anywhere. They needed a multiple modality, HIPAA-compliant Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS) that fit their practice.

So the team made a wish list:

  • Off-line data access for review and re-measurements
  • Customized reports that meet accreditation standards and personal preferences
  • Off-site backup
  • Automated EMR integration

 

Just What the Doctors Ordered: cPac Pro
One of the cardiologists discovered cPac Pro from Freeland Systems. They chose a configuration with three parts: AccessPoint, BacPac, and freelandsystems.net. Each one gave the practice new tools to streamline processes, saving time and money.

First, the cardiology practice installed AccessPoint, the basic software engine that drives cPac Pro. It provided point of use functionality for technologists and physicians. They could prepare preliminary reports in the imaging room without having to log into the web. Instruments from different manufacturers fed images into AccessPoint’s digital viewer where they could be manipulated. The doctors could finally print and fax customizable reports right away, and they could securely export diagnostic quality DICOM images into various healthcare systems and EMR environments.

AccessPoint also allowed the physicians to download studies and continue their work offline. Now, when the physician’s were traveling between sites or were in places with no internet connection, they could still access image data and continue working.

BacPac, a temporary local storage appliance, was loaded at each of the three client locations. BacPac created an atmosphere of collaboration by synchronizing the data between sites using their existing Local Area Network. BacPac automatically populated AccessPoint and EMRs with every measurement the doctors took. BacPac also included Nuance’s PowerScribe interface for easy dictation. And with data stored in other places, there was an off-site backup in case of a disaster.

cPac Pro came with freelandsystems.net, a client web portal that provided the physicians access to data from anywhere. It also included administrative functions like user management. Senior doctors could assign physician, tech, and administrator privileges. Even rural partners and contract clients uploaded studies for review. Finally, usage statistics helped senior staff improve internal processes.

 

The Outcome
Overnight, the cardiology practice became savvy and streamlined. Data entry was automated and records were synchronized. cPac Pro’s technical support helped the doctors troubleshoot problems to keep the office running. The doctors collaborated in ways they didn’t know were possible. They spent more time with patients rather than managing workflow. The cardiology practice cut costs and delivered results faster, all because they invested in cPac Pro.



Common Issues Integrating PACS and EMR
02.12.14

Combining your patients’ EMR (electronic medical records) with your PACS system creates an invaluable combination of tools that increases your return on investment. By streamlining medical records with your PACS system, both patient records and medical images are stored in one digital location, providing ease-of-use for staff, which in turn, creates a higher level of healthcare for patients.

Integrating EMR records with your PACS system can be a seamless process, if it is conducted with patience and care. The specific requirements for integration are different, depending upon the PACS system your practice uses. Some PACS require the initial patient input to be accurate upon integration without being reworked, which necessitates a careful eye from the staff and tedious data input. Others, however, have functionality available to integrate data for you, lightening the workload on your staff.

As with any technological upgrade, integrations can pose problems to the user if proper protocols are not followed before integration. Regard the following precautions to eliminate integration complications:

Avoid duplicate entries. To avoid compromising patient care, ensure that duplicate records are not created. Duplicate creations are dangerous to the patient, because they do not include preexisting conditions, and they can compromise the course of medical action. Ensure that all clinical records and actions are listed in a single place, in their entirety.

Ensure that clinical encounters are documented to the correct patient. Avoid clinical record corruption by double-checking that the records being referred to or updated belong to the patient being treated.

Minimize the impact on existing care workflow. Integration should be minimally disruptive to the technical infrastructure. A major benefit of a PACS system is to increase workflow efficiency. However, if the system is down for backups or end of day processing, then the record may not be entered into the PACS or EMR systems. 



Freeland Systems Launches cPAC – A Cloud-Based PACS Solution
02.06.14

cPAC, the newest addition to the AccessPoint family, is now available from Freeland Systems. cPAC utilizes cloud computing and browser-based environments, allowing you to have all the functionality of a server-based PAC system without the limited accessibility of a server-based environment. With cPAC you have anytime, anywhere access to your images with intelligent reporting solutions, including the ability to re-measure images, customize reports, and utilize dynamic search features.

Find out more about how to equip your office with the affordable and convenient cPAC system.

Features

Browser-based: cPAC integrates bi-directional image and communication sharing between organizations, physicians, and patients with browser-based PAC system solutions and intelligent reporting. Working in different locations and collaborating with colleagues from other sites is easy with cPAC.

Cloud storage: Cloud technology hosts data and applications on secure SSL off-site servers, eliminating your need to maintain on-site servers. This provides scalable and cost-effective options for your storage and archiving of data. In addition, patient data does not remain on hardware; it is stored in a secured, HIPAA-compliant environment.

Disaster recovery and back-up solutions: cPAC provides off-site hosted data replication services. Built-in disaster recovery solutions protect your data from unplanned disruptions and prevent single points of failure. You can rest assured that your data is automatically and securely backed up.

Benefits

Low cost of ownership: cPAC is offered in flexible and scalable pricing options. You can pay per study or on a subscription that best meets your needs. Any size facility can have access to a fully-functional PAC system with cPAC.

Reduce storage and hardware costs: Cloud technology offers unlimited storage capacity without the need to purchase expensive equipment and hire staff to maintain it. Dynamic provisioning ensures that you are only paying for the storage capacity you are using, making cloud solutions scalable for any size organization.

Support: Freeland Systems Technical Solutions Team is available to help you set up and use cPAC. Whether you are new to AccessPoint or you are migrating your current system to the cloud, we can help you with installation, training, and technical support. 



Opening a DICOM Directory with AccessPoint
01.30.14

Studies are usually transferred from equipment directly to database through a DICOM Transfer Protocol. The studies are then available for you to view on AccessPoint. However, AccessPoint also allows you to view studies that were not automatically imported into the system.

A DICOM Directory provides an index of image files and patient data, which allows you to search and retrieve the image you are looking for. Follow the steps below to set up a new tab to view the data from a specific DICOM Directory.

1. Click the Tool drop-down menu from the main toolbar.

2. Click the New button to open the Data Source Type dialog box.

3. Select the DICOM Path radial button to open the DICOM Path Setting dialog box.

4. Type the display name and path.

5. Click OK. 

A new tab will appear in AccessPoint. This tab displays all files from the DICOM Directory you specified. The tab will remain there, and you can access any new files that are added to the directory. This feature provides you with an easy way to read files from another clinic or those saved on other media, such as a CD or USB drive. There are no special settings or files required. Simply configure the path, and you can view those studies and generate reports in AccessPoint.