PACS firms can't forget workstations

October 1, 1998

PACS firms can't forget workstationsMuch has been accomplished in the last few years to facilitate radiologist acceptance of soft-copy reading and PACS technology, but clearly work still needs to be done.In a talk at the Diagnostic

PACS firms can't forget workstations

Much has been accomplished in the last few years to facilitate radiologist acceptance of soft-copy reading and PACS technology, but clearly work still needs to be done.

In a talk at the Diagnostic Imaging Healthcare Conference 1998: How to Buy, Use and Succeed with PACS, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center director of radiology informatics Dr. Paul Chang discussed the shortcomings of today's PACS workstations.

His comments were damning. Although he conceded that workstations have improved over the last two years, Chang believes they still have a long way to go.

In addition to his concern with the expensive "boxes" that can't do much besides view images, Chang points to the graphical user interface as a particular problem. Workstation interfaces are still much too busy, cumbersome, and full of distractions, he said. Soft-copy reading is hard enough without having to deal with a complicated, icon-rich interface.

The concept of user work flow has been only partially realized, Chang said. Scalability within the enterprise is difficult, and work flow and work list management implementations are still primitive. He would also like to see HIS/RIS interfaces enhanced.

Unfortunately, Chang's comments are right on the mark. PACS vendors would be wise to heed them. Although IS departments exert a growing influence in the PACS purchasing process, radiology departments are still key participants in the process. Ignoring the wishes of radiologists would be a big mistake.

-Erik L. Ridley, Editor

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