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A Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS) involves computerized management and distribution of diagnostic images such as x-rays, CT, MRI and others. These diagnostic images are incorporated into PACS in one of two primary ways: digital-ready diagnostic imaging equipment directly creates a digital image; or, images are produced in the traditional manner and converted to a digital format by scanning. For example, conventional x-ray equipment produces pictures which are later scanned into digital format and incorporated in the PACS. The images are easier to handle in digital format and can be moved almost instantly between sites, unlike film. The technology improves access to diagnostic imaging services in rural areas by sending the images electronically to sites where a clinical staff is present; this is especially important in urgent care situations.

A Radiology Information System (RIS) is a software system that computerizes all aspects of record keeping and communication for a diagnostic imaging department. The system provides a simple and effective way for radiologists, clinicians and other staff to enter and retrieve exam data, view medical images, maintain patient records, and manage schedules.

Benefits include a reduction in clerical workload, widespread access to exam data, a dramatic improvement in the turnaround time for the delivery of exam results, and an overall increase in efficiency and productivity.

The Benefits of RIS/PACS/3D Integration

PACS alone cannot deliver the desired results unless it is fully integrated with a DICOM-compatible RIS, as well as a full DICOM interface with imaging modalities

When the RIS, PACS, and modalities operate and function as a single system:

  • Users can reduce film and chemical costs
  • Reduce film-storage space requirements
  • Increase productivity due to better utilization of radiology assets
  • Significantly improve service to patients and referring physicians
  • A PACS enables nearly instant access to images and patient data within radiology, clinical areas in
    the hospital, and to remote users.
  • In concert with a RIS and other clinical information systems, images can be integrated with the Radiology report and with other patient information systems (such as laboratory, pharmacy, Cardiology, and nursing reports)

Moreover, a single-tiered archive supporting a RIS/PACS/3D network can provide access to all radiology images and patient data in real time.

With a functioning DICOM modality worklist service, the system virtually eliminates redundant data entry or manual reconciliation of broken studies, another productivity improvement.

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