While the population is aging the caseloads in radiology departments are increasing. How can you keep up without compromising in reading performance? In the long run a powerful Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) will be inevitable.
Delaying PACS replacement can have serious consequences in terms of sustainable business success and maximizing productivity for fast reading turnaround times. What adds to that are the evolving requirements of referring physicians and patients.
The question is: What are the indicators and reasons to identify with certainty that your current PACS no longer corresponds to the needs of your institution?
What are the key indicators for a PACS replacement?
The average system lifespan of a PACS system lies between six and 10 years. Furthermore, IT changes and regulatory requirements start to diminish the efficiency almost right away.
A large variety of different demands determine the need of renewal:
- Insufficient 3D functionalities for routine reading
- Lacking state-of-the-art workflow tools
- Nonexistent modularity for e.g. additional archiving extensions
- Weak loading performance for series and images
- Workflow tools do not meet usability aspects
- Non-intuitive user-interface
- No adequate customization functionalities
- Missing scalability and upgradeability
- Incompatibility with current security standards
Well-founded evaluation of the current and future needs
"After 12 years with the old PACS, the shift was like going from a horse-drawn cart to a racecar."
Professor Rainer Klöppel, MD
Head of the Institute of Diagnostic Imaging, Klinikum Chemnitz
Identification of current and future needs
Compile information on your current PACS system and IT infrastructure to identify your improvement potentials according to clinical, technical, and market demands. Make up your mind about the appropriate system sizing in relation to the projected throughput and case complexity. Evaluate a vendor-neutral and/or modular approach, for example, with the focus on scalability in performance or archiving opportunities.
On-site evaluation – test and try
Become familiar with new workflows, additional functionalities, or an improved user interface at a very early stage by setting up a demo system in your institution.
Best approach analysis
Finally, compare the offered solutions with your requirements and goals.
Article: Combining the best of both worlds
Read the whole PACS replacement success story of Klinikum Chemnitz, Germany
Sound planning process
"Prior to implementing syngo.plaza we set up two demo-stations where both radiologists and radiographers familiarized themselves with syngo.plaza’s functions. In the end this made our transition to syngo.plaza simpler."
Dr. Andi Binaj, MD
Senior Physician, Clinical Institute of Radiology, University Hospital in Krems
It’s time to develop a detailed resource and project plan
Build up your PACS replacement team, establish responsibilities, and nominate project owners. Please inform all involved parties about the upcoming renewal.
The kind of infrastructure that enables a smooth transition
Ensure parallel operation of both systems with almost no interruption of the clinical workflow.
Radiologists will be pleased that they can work with syngo.plaza already during migration. It will be a fluent transition from the old to the new PACS system. Due to the tight linkage of RIS and PACS a data cleanup might be necessary.
Train your staff on the new PACS system
Provide profound training for users and administrators – for a smooth and seamless transition.
Article: Successful migration to syngo.plaza
Watch the whole PACS replacement success story of University Hospital Krems, Austria
"We could access our archive during the entire migration process, so there was no downtime."
Professor Bernd Tomandl, MD
Head of the Radiology and Neuroradiology Clinic, Christophsbad Medical Center, Göppingen
Turn your PACS replacement into practice
The implementation starts with the installation and integration of the new PACS system. That process is accompanied by the adaption or update of the interfaces to external systems.
PACS migration with Smart Data Conversion
This is the heart of the PACS migration: Copy your imaging data of all types on DICOM level with optionally changing or updating your DICOM tags – on the fly. Intelligent prefetching of any older patient data facilitates the workflows. Multi-threading speeds up the migration while the migration control permanently balances the load sharing to avoid any impact on the radiologist’s workflow. You can use the migration process to do house-keeping with the data itself – and get rid of all the junk data that you no longer need. A migration manager will supervise the migration from the first to the last day and will help you with any issue or question.
Customizing the new PACS system
Adapt the application settings to the specific needs of the different users and clinical workflows. Layouts can be customized as well as loading or archiving rules.
At last: The final check
When the implementation and the customizing have been completed there will be a validation to proof this. Is the data in the new PACS system correct and complete? A final project report will verify if all goals have been reached or if there are still some adjustments to be made.
Article: PACS migration made easy
Read the whole PACS replacement success story of Christophsbad Medical Center, Germany