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.

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