Looking for a PACS System can be a confusing process. There are countless features and benefits that different systems offer and it’s hard to know which one is the right fit for your practice. Below is a list of the top five things to look for in a PACS System when evaluating your options.
1. Is it user-friendly?
There’s no sense investing time and money in a state-of-the-art system if users are hesitant to embrace it because it seems too complicated or overwhelming. While the whole philosophy behind implementing a PACS is to streamline and expedite obtaining critical patient information, the process involved must be easy to learn and simple to use for practitioners and their team.
2. Is it customizable?
Being able to customize reports to meet your office’s particular needs is a necessary component of your PACS solution. The default report settings that come installed with a PACS System may not always fit each doctor’s particular needs. Choosing software for your PACS that is completely customizable enables you to read and review studies and medical reports the way you want. With customizable software, you are able to choose whichever advanced searching and display modes that are appropriate and convenient for your daily use and access.
3. Is it scalable?
Scalability refers to the ability of the PACS to continue to function well after more patient files are added to it and additional features are utilized to meet your needs. You want a PACS that is readily able to be expanded as time goes on, as internet speed and access increase even further, and your specific medical office needs change and expand. With the continuous advancement of technology, there will always be new options and features of PACS offered as the system continues to become streamlined, affordable, and ever-present in the healthcare field.
4. Is it compatible?
If you don’t want a completely separate, stand-alone PACS for each modality, then it is important you choose one a system that can handle multiple modalities. Choosing a PACS that supports a wide number of modalities in the healthcare environment enables all the critical reports and information to be obtained instantly. Further, the PACS should be able to interface with current hospital information systems (HIS) and radiology information system (RIS). X-ray plain film (PF), computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imagining (MRI), and images from other modalities must be able to be easily stored and accessed in your PACS.
5. Is it easily accessible?
Accessibility is a critical factor when evaluating a PACS System. Some PACS are limited to single workstations that are provided by the manufacturer while others are web based and only require a browser. These considerations affect how easy it is for team members to access data within the PACS and how easy the information is to share. Choosing a PACS that supports all modalities in a scalable, web-based application is ideal for many practitioners. Whether you are seeing and caring for your patients in your office or while making rounds in the hospital, having the ability to instantly access their individualized information (digital images, clinical photographs, reports, findings, blood work, test results, colleagues’ notes, and any/all other pertinent information on file) with just a few clicks of a keyboard helps streamline and improve the whole healthcare process for all involved parties, including (and most importantly) the individual patient. Choosing software that gives you access to each of your patients in their own electronic portfolios empowers you to remain on top of their healthcare plan of action and provide the best, individualized care and attention to each of them.