Radiology Group Challenges in a Post-PACS Era
Radiology volumes are increasing thanks to the proliferation of new, advanced modalities supporting the needs of an aging baby boomer generation. Studies take longer to read while the radiologist shortage means each physician is expected to read more and more studies each year. Along with this, reimbursement rates are decreasing for both radiology groups and facilities. Radiologists and groups are being asked to do more work for less money. This creates a huge efficiency problem.
Where will groups get the extra capacity needed to manage this increasing workload? Where will new efficiencies come from at a rate that will make up for unavailable FTEs?
Radiology groups must become more automated, gaining access to images quickly and cost-effectively while performing reads across multiple sites. Many of these groups have been led to believe that a vendor-supplied, enterprise-wide PACS solution is the best technology approach. The vendors offering this type of solution can be divided into two main categories:
- Large diagnostic imaging equipment and healthcare IT vendors (e.g., GE, Siemens, Philips, Carestream, Agfa, McKesson and Cerner); or
- Smaller PACS/Teleradiology vendors (e.g., Merge-eMed, Emageon, Amicas, ScImage, Intelerad, Novarad)
Radiology groups must realize that the industry is moving at light speed toward a post-PACS era, fueled by the broken technology promises of PACS technology providers.