Radiology Services Online Blog

Benefits of Hosted PACS Systems for Teleradiology

Posted by Diane Mitol on Wed, Aug 15, 2012 @ 04:56 PM

Benefits of Hosted PACS Systems for Teleradiology

The practice of teleradiology enables radiologists to read and interpret medical images remotely.  Initially, teleradiology was used occasionally to provide consultations on emergency room treatments from remote locations, usually the radiologist’s home during off-duty hours.   Through the late 1990s teleradiology connections were made through standard analog phone lines.  However with the growth of the internet and fast internet connections, teleradiology has become an essential part of emergency room treatment throughout the United States. Teleradiologist

Traditionally, teleradiology involved the actual transmission of images, but as hosted PACs solutions have become more prevalent, and with the growth of SaaS/Cloud technology, it is no longer necessary to transmit the actual images.  Rather,  a secure link to a digital image that is stored in a subscription software PACs is sent to the teleradiologist, and he simply clicks on it to view a diagnostic quality image.   

Further, the practice of teleradiology is no longer relegated to emergency care, but has become a part of regular medical treatment when a sub-specialist such as a MRI Radiologist, Neuroradiologist, Pediatric Radiologist, or Musculoskeletal Radiologist is needed for a second opinion or consult in non-emergency settings.  This practice has vastly improved rural health,  since these professionals are generally only located in large metropolitan areas and working during day time hours. Teleradiology, and particularly hosted teleradiology solutions, allow trained specialists to be available whenever and wherever they are needed. 

Hosted PACs provides benefits for both the patient and the radiologist. 

Patient Benefits Provided by Hosted PACS

  1. Studies and reports available immediately for consultation, means better, faster patient care.
  2. Long-term storage of patient studies enables radiologists to compare current test to previous tests to determine best treatment options.
  3. Hosted PACS images may be uploaded to patients’ personal health records for fast access by all their physicians for better self-management and coordination of care for disease or chronic conditions.
  4. More readily available consultations and treatments for patients in rural and remote locations.
  5. Over-all lowering of medical costs through shared images and elimination of need for duplicate tests.

Radiologist Benefits Provided by Hosted PACS (like

  1. Low startup costs – no expensive hardware or software license to buy
  2. No need to burn CDs to send off with patients  
  3. Instant access to historical data
  4. Data available anytime, anywhere with an internet connection
  5. Can reduce the number of duplicate images
  6. Low cost, long term storage of historical data, with back-up
  7. Rapid implementation of system
  8. No IT personnel required to maintain
  9. HIPAA compliance

Teleradiology continues to grow as imaging technology becomes more a part of regular medical care.  Imaging procedures are growing approximately 15% annually, and with the Radiologist population growing and only about 2% annually, teleradiology will continue to play a pivotal role in diagnosis and treatment. 

In small, rural practices, teleradiology makes better care available for more people.  In larger practices, teleradiology facilitates the ability to provide subspecialty radiology coverage to a large geographic area.   Hosted PACs systems simply enhance these benefits.   In addition to providing a higher quality subspecialty interpretation within a practice or group of practices, teleradiology and hosted PACs systems supply cutting edge tools thathelp hospitals and radiologists practice more efficiently, resulting in timelier subspecialty imaging coverage.

Teleradiology’s decade-long impact on the medical landscape will be even greater as more radiologists move to hosted PACs systems.  We are in an era that promises better subspecialty coverage of radiology that was unachievable in an analog world. Reads are possible around the clock and around the world via a simple web link.  This allows radiologists to focus on the development of subspecialty and treatment expertise within a practice by delivering imaging studies easily and quickly regardless of the patient location.

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Topics: Telemedicine, PACS, Teleradiology

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