Privately-Owned Imaging Center Rises Above the Competition with RIS/PACS Solution
By Jay Gonyea, manager, Vermont Radiologists
Vermont Radiologists is the only privately-owned diagnostic imaging center in the entire state. As such, the center competes with local hospitals or medical centers, and in particular a teaching hospital located just a few miles down the road. This presents a unique competitive environment, one that our organization has fully embraced by rising to the challenge.
The center specializes in Open MRI and Women’s Imaging with a focus on quality care and convenient service. We further distinguish our facility from the competition by offering high quality care with less waiting time and hassle than our patients find at a major medical center.
In the quest to provide high quality care with advanced imaging equipment, Vermont Radiologists decided to upgrade its existing film-based X-ray and Mammography systems. In an effort to decrease our film processing and storage costs, while at the same time increasing efficiency and image quality, we looked at Computed Radiography and Digital Mammography systems. Yet, the digital move would require another investment in a RIS and PACS solution.
In choosing a PACS vendor, we looked for a vendor that was large enough to fulfill the center’s growing storage needs, but small enough to work one-on-one with the radiologists. The search for a solution that would work best for our facility led me to BRIT Systems.
BRIT had a cost-effective solution for our small imaging center, plus Shelly Fisher and her technical staff were on-site throughout the entire “go live” process, ensuring a smooth transition from film to a near-filmless environment.
With the addition of CR, a full-field digital mammography and BRIT’s Roentgen RIS/PACS solution, Vermont Radiologists further secured its future as a leading healthcare provider in Vermont.
Integrated increases efficiency and enhances patient care
As a result of BRIT’s integrated RIS/ PACS and seamless connectivity to the center’s digital modalities, we have experienced several operational benefits. The most noticeable impact on our facility has been a significant decrease in the technologists hanging and pulling films. Today, the only film hung at Vermont Radiologists is comparison films from outside facilities. This has further led to the removal of one RADX alternator from the facility and significant cost savings from the reduction in film use.
A second effect of the electronic infrastructure enabled by BRIT’s Roentgen RIS/PACS is greater efficiency and staff timesaving for a multitude of administrative tasks. For example, Vermont Radiologists conducts all patient scheduling and tracking activities on the RIS, reducing the time and cost of paper-based systems. Plus, with an HL-7 interface, the RIS provides charge capture data directly to the center’s billing software, ensuring accurate and timely invoicing of all procedures. This has created a complete package for us.
For referring physicians, access to patient data is invaluable as well as a great business tool for Vermont Radiologists. We have set up several local referring physicians with our BRITView software and have had great success with it. Reports are available within 48 hours and rarely does my staff or I spend additional time and resources fielding calls from these doctors.
However, most important is the impact on patient care. While information technology and digital imaging might seem confusing to most of our patients, it definitely helps to ensure a more accurate diagnosis. Without the PACS/RIS infrastructure, it would be very difficult to move to a digital modality environment, which from my perspective produces higher quality patient images. The difference between film-screen mammography and digital mammography is truly incredible.
Before making any final vendor decision, facilities should speak with other, similar-sized centers to further explore their experience with the selection and implementation of PACS. While each site has unique needs, similar scenarios will exist. Each vendor and system has its own unique set of challenges associated with making the system function as efficiently as possible given the environment. The BRIT PACS solution has been a very reliable system for us I would recommend BRIT to other imaging centers in need of a PACS and/or RIS solution.