Two Ohio healthcare facilities share one PACS

September 3, 2001

What you love most you share. Marion General Hospital shares its PACS. The 284-bed not-for-profit hospital in Marion, OH, shares its PACS with Smith Clinic, a 60-physician for-profit multispecialty group practice located across the street. Marion

What you love most you share. Marion General Hospital shares its PACS.

The 284-bed not-for-profit hospital in Marion, OH, shares its PACS with Smith Clinic, a 60-physician for-profit multispecialty group practice located across the street. Marion General recently purchased Smith.

"We decided to share our PACS as part of combining the radiology services of our two campuses," said Jan Geuy, director of radiology for both groups.

Combined, Smith and Marion do about 120,000 imaging studies per year. Modalities at both campuses include ultrasound, MRI, CT, nuclear medicine, and mammography.

"Not only did the two radiology service lines merge into one - the radiologists also merged into one group," Geuy said.

The two institutions share archive and data management components, including the network server and the archive manager.

"Our shared PACS idea came when we bought the hospital across the street and merged the inpatient operation into Marion and turned the other facility into an ambulatory care center that has outpatient surgery and the diagnostic lab, x-ray, and therapies," said Mike Greeley, Marion's vice president of operations. "But you can't have couriers toting film across the street all day. It wouldn't be service oriented."

There was also a strong need for images to be available to physicians from either facility.

"PACS was a natural solution to this problem," Geuy said. "We also have online viewing for radiology reports through the PACS."

The twin systems connect to the single PACS with fiber-optic lines, while a 100 Mb intranet loops through the hospital. T1 lines connect both facilities to Riverside Hospital in Columbus, a 1000-bed tertiary facility that is a part of the same Ohio Health System.

The shared configuration has yielded substantial financial benefits. Geuy estimates a combined savings of over $500,000 in the first year of operation alone.

"This savings is in FTE reductions, film and chemistry cost savings, x-ray jacket and supply cost reduction, and the deletion of several x-ray film processors," she said.

One of the FTE cost savings came from the decision to employ one director of imaging over both sites - the hospital as well as the outpatient clinic - which ensures that whatever is done on one side of the street remains integrated with the other side.