How do your technology decisions stack up compared with your peers? In this year’s Technology Survey, from our colleagues at Physicians Practice journal, 54 radiologists weighed in on tech trends. It was almost an even split with 53 percent of respondents working in an independent practice and 47 percent hailing from a hospital or integrated delivery network. About 45 percent of respondents were from groups with 10 or fewer physicians, 34 percent had 11 to 50, and 21 percent had 51 or more. Here’s a breakdown of their most pressing IT concerns. The cost of new technology topped the list, followed by IT support and communicating with other departments.
When it comes to EHRs, 59 percent of responding radiologists have a fully implemented system or are using one provided by a hospital or corporate parent. But a full 31 percent still don’t have an EHR. That could be changing as more radiologists take advantage of the meaningful use incentives for EHR use.
To qualify for the federal government’s meaningful use program, radiologists are relying on certified EHR or RIS/PACS systems. We found that more than 40 percent of radiologists have a system certified under the government’s criteria, and another 30 percent are working with their vendors to ensure certification.
Only 17 percent of respondents have attempted (and were successful) in receiving the meaningful use incentive funds. But about 30 percent are planning to soon. The proposed rules for Stage 2 of the program include medical imaging in the criteria, which might encourage more radiologists to participate.
Modular systems or a single, fully-certified system? Here radiologists were split, with a majority opting for a single system. Experts have said they believe more radiologists will – and should - go the way of a single system, as modified systems will mean more technology investments to fill in the gaps.
About 44 percent of respondents said they were planning to upgrade or replace their PACS, and about the same percent said they will select a new vendor.
Why upgrade or replace? Radiologists are mainly looking expanded network infrastructure an advanced visualization, as well as expanded image storage capacity.
The bleak economic picture doesn’t seem to be deterring many radiologist respondents from investing in new technology this year. In our survey, the majority said they would consider tech investments on an as-needed basis, and a full 38 percent said they would be investing more in the next few years than in the past.