Residents give thumbs-up to PACS

July 2, 2003

Much emphasis has been placed on the effect of PACS implementation on a radiology department's productivity. Radiology informatics fellows may be well prepared for the technological revolution in their department, but how will it affect the department's

Much emphasis has been placed on the effect of PACS implementation on a radiology department's productivity. Radiology informatics fellows may be well prepared for the technological revolution in their department, but how will it affect the department's other residents?

Researchers at the University of Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital attempted to evaluate the perception of PACS' impact among residents. A PACS had been in place at the Santa Barbara facility since April 1998 for the digital modalities, including CT, MR, and ultrasound. Three years later, the facility added conventional radiographic studies, moving toward complete filmless operation with the exception of mammography.

To determine the effect of the digital transition, the researchers distributed two surveys assessing the impact of PACS on a number of issues, including efficiency, teaching, and frequency of interruption.

All 16 respondents in both surveys and across all modalities responded positively about their PACS experience. Most reported fewer interruptions during readouts. The study was presented at the 2002 American Roentgen Ray Society conference.

Not only did PACS implementation improve readout workflow, according to the researchers, but it also increased productivity, as evidenced by the greater number of cases the residents were able to review each day.