Common Issues Integrating PACS and EMR

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. 

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