Immediate access to the images--after the technologist sends an image to PACs, anyone who has been granted user rights can access those images.
This includes the images being available immediately to the radiologist who no longer requires films to be hung or stacked for him to read.
Multiple physicians can view images at the same time. The orthopedic surgeon and neurologist can view images on the same patient at opposite ends of the town. Prior to PACS, we'd retrieve films from one to ship to the other.
Wet processing is a thing of the past. Caustic chemicals are required to develop imaging film. These chemical are dumped into our waste systems.
Results reside in PACS with the images, giving access to the image, notes and reports.
Here are some frequently asked questions about our system:
Q: What is "Synapse?"
A: Synapse is the Fuji name for their PACs product.
Q: What departments are in PACS?
A: All of images will reside in PACs to include Diagnostic radiology, Ultrasound, Nuclear Medicine, Special procedures (IR), CT scan and MRI.
Q: How do I get access to the system?
A: Marketing staff are handling registration into the system and training users on utilization of PACs. Contact our marketing staff to begin the process. We've targeted many areas for the system and hope to have our frequent referring physicians set up.
Q: Who needs access to PACs?
A: Physicians who view films will need access. Support staff who need to view films need access. Support staff who would assist physicians in getting images ready for the physician to view need access.
Q: How will we request films?
A: Film is old technology. We will still print film as necessary but hope to discontinue printing as convenience of PACs catches on in our community. Images will reside on the ETMC imaging website. The person in need of viewing images will sign on to the link and query by patient name. Clicking on the patient will bring up an imaging folder that will contain the patient?s images and when they are transcribed, the patient?s reports.
Q: Will PACs speed up our ability to get images.
A: Images will be available to any authorized user as soon as the technologist completes their procedure and send it to PACs.
Q: Do we need to invest in upgrading equipment?
A: The radiologist requires 3 mega-pixel monitors. They cost approximately $15,000 to 16,000 - each. A 2nd level of monitor is the 2 mega-pixel NEC monitor. These cost approximately $1,600 - each. The resolution requirements vary from application to application. E.g. -viewing CT images do not warrant the level of resolution as bone imaging. The standard issue flat screen yields considerable resolution. (Spec sheet for recommended equipment attached).
Q: How do we know what equipment we need?
A: Come check the 3 levels of monitors in the Imaging dept, main hospital. We will also distribute images via CD over the next week to enable offices to see the images on their existing equipment.
Q: How do we get our sign on to access the system?
A: User authorizations will be issued by our PACs Coordinator. We have a list of frequent referring physicians that we will address in conjunction with our marketing department.
Q: Who needs user access?
A: Anyone who would normally look at film would need access to PACs.
Q: How will we get our reports?
A: Reports will still be sent in the same fashion. The reports will also reside in PACs as part of the patient's record.
Q: Who is going to put the Synapse icon on the computers?
A: The synapse software loads when you first sign on in your office. Hospital computers will be loaded with Synapse. Users need to go to the website, sign on and download the program via the "Install synapse" process. Part of the loading of software will include the establishment of the icon.
Q: Is there a certain amount of free memory space our computers need?
A: The need is not memory but hard drive space. Having 4-5 mb of free disk space above the 10% windows needs to operate properly is preferable.
Q: Does it matter if we have DSL, cable, dial up or satellite?
A: DSL & Cable are preferred. Dial up is too slow to be practical. Commercial satellite does not work with PACs. Due to the way in splits up data packets and restores them on the receiving end.
Q: How much RAM do we have to have?
A: See spec sheet for recommended system requirements. We add 1 gig of memory to our machines when we use them for operating systems such as PACs.
Q: Who do I call if I have questions about the tools within Synapse? Example: "If I need to know how to measure a tumor and I don't know how, who should I call?"
A: Bill Bailey will be the resident PACS Coordinator. Various Super-users will be trained over the 1st weeks of training.
Q: Will I be able to manipulate the films after the radiologist finalizes the reports?
A: Yes-we also have Voxar software on the system to allow additional manipulation of the image.
Q: Will I be able to see preliminary reports on Synapse?
A: Preliminary reports reside in the RIS and the finals go to PACs. Reports will still be sent via FirstNet. If you do not have preliminary reports now, that function could be activated through our FirstNet staff (903-531-8052).
Q: When will ETMC stop printing films?
A: We will stop printing films for ourselves internally on 3/22. We hope our clientele find the system convenient and soon leave film technology behind and turn to this electronic solution as the answer to their imaging needs.
Q: Can a doctor view his films from home?
A: A physician can view images from any computer that can access the internet. He'll just need to go to the website and download the software.
Q: Are all previous film scanned into the patient's file for comparison purposes as our physicians want to compare with previous studies.
A: We'll not build the data base by loading old films into the system. This will be done on a limited basis. Our radiologists will rely on old "Hardcopy" film routinely. 3 years of reports will be loaded into the system.
Q: If the system is down, will there be backup discs that can be sent over?
A: We have a backup server should the server go down. The backup is a duplicate of the operating server. It is located in a separate building for disaster recovery purposes.
Q: Can we view images from another ETMC facility that has Synapse?
A: This implementation will include Athens, Gun Barrel City and Cedar Creek. Images will be available from all sites dependant on their set up for access in the system.
IMPORTANT: We need your questions to help everyone with this implementation. No question is too silly to ask. Please forward any/all questions to firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you!
Bill Bailey, Tyler PACS Coordinator 903-596-3093
Bill Tobin, Tyler Imaging Director 903-535-6350