From the November 2013 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
By Freddie Adorno
As a community hospital,
Nyack Hospital has been nationally recognized for exemplary performance in using evidence-based clinical processes that are shown to improve care, and our Center for Diagnostic Imaging performs more than 125,000 procedures a year with a staff of 20 (rotating) radiologists. We are proud to say we are one of the first in the nation to offer our patients, referring physicians and staff one of the most feature-rich enterprise medical imaging systems that extend beyond radiology.
When we initially began the search to replace our dated imaging solution, we knew we were looking for a technology provider that was eager to embrace evolving interoperability standards, while still incorporating the devices and functionality needed by today’s physicians and specialists, such as mobile devices and a simple system for patient-centric data sharing. We needed to find a solution that was taking the next logical steps— workflow management, enterprise sharing, communication and analytics.
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Although we had been using a departmental imaging solution for many years now and had seen and used many different systems, we still did our due diligence - site visits, peer references and research. From our efforts, we realized that our PACS also needed to integrate with EHRs, image viewers and other IT applications and also had to have the capacity to scale to meet our growing demands. We also felt that replacing our PACS at this time gave us the opportunity to rethink our imaging strategy and to identify the features and functionality that would help enhance workflow and productivity as well as the services we deliver to referring physicians. In order to accomplish these goals our new PACS needed to be able to adapt to bandwidth variations well and our growing annual exam volume. Although we are a community hospital, our business continues to expand and we are faced with similar competition as the larger multi-site facilities.
Our PACS needed to help us make a difference in how we managed workflow, enterprise image sharing, communication, and analytics. It was important to consider and obtain from our vendor, performance reassurances - from a validation to acceptance framework - using real life system test protocols that not only exercise the scalability of software applications but take advantage of the capabilities in today’s hardware. Recently, we learned that the vendor we selected undertook large scalability testing at the Microsoft Labs in Seattle, WA, with their latest version; the version we have implemented. Essentially, during this test they simulated an annual volume throughput of 5,000,000 exams equating to 1,600 studies per hour on a series of virtual application servers. Not only are we impressed that our vendor under took this effort but the results have been truly exciting and have demonstrated that there was no performance degradation. Although we may not realize these volumes at our facility, I think that it is important for others considering a PACS replacement to have this level of performance reassurance from their vendor. We can now take this ecosystem beyond radiology, providing accessibility on the enterprise level and to our referring community in remote locations.