Remember when EHRs were clunky applications that you could only use on an ancient hospital computer? Online EHRs like drchrono have made a huge difference for physicians, allowing them to access their data from anywhere and on any device, and today I’m going to write about how that same transition is happening for radiology software, commonly known as RIS/PACS (Radiology Information System and Picture Archiving and Communication System).
Historically RIS/PACS were applications installed on workstations and servers in hospital basements. If you needed to view images, you walked to a workstation. If you needed to send the data to other physicians elsewhere, you would burn it to a CD/DVD, or print it on a sheet of film. Data exchange used to take very long time, and because it was so inefficient there would often be duplicate exams or diagnosis without imaging.
Online RIS/PACS, like cloud based EHRs, are dramatically changing practices worldwide. Now, instead of being tied to the hospital workstation to view images, you can view connect your devices to a cloud PACS and view your images online across platforms, even on the iPad or iPhone.
The process is as easy as opening a web browser or mobile application – try it yourself!
This simple change of online access at any time has profound implications for patient care. We see the following trends emerging:
- Practices with imaging equipment, like an X-Ray or Ultrasound machine bring in remote specialists to consult on cases, or even add remote radiology, orthopedic or obstetrics consult services to their practice.
- Mobile practices are growing quickly, where technologists go to facilities or even homes with portable ultrasounds or x-ray machines and scan patients, and send the image data to remote physicians.
- Primary care providers and internists gather their patient image data from other facilities and link it to their EHR, so that they can look for changes over time as new exams are performed.
In the recent past an integrated EHR and RIS/PACS would have cost hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars. Now this technology is very affordable, available without up-front cost and can bring amazing benefits to patients everywhere.
Here is a video of an online RIS/PACS MedXT that integrates with DrChrono: