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PACS Admin's Guide to Intelligent ToolsImproved operational efficiency is one of the promises of the digital transformation of healthcare. 

However, the journey to achieve those promised efficiencies is ongoing, and the path is fraught with challenges. 

In many respects, it’s not the technology that is complicating the journey. It’s the business environment of implementing it across an enterprise. As is often the case, the devil is in the details. 

Three primary barriers to these promised efficiencies include the changing business model of healthcare, interoperability (or lack thereof), and rapid growth via mergers and acquisitions. 

PACS administrators, radiology directors, and others involved in managing imaging services are not immune to the downstream consequences of these industry-wide realities. While you may not have a say in the direction of the business of healthcare, you can rise to the challenge and use intelligent tools to increase efficiencies across your imaging enterprise to meet these demands. 

Read on to learn more about the barriers and these four intelligent tools that can help PACS administrators overcome industry challenges for improved efficiency:

  • Intelligent load balancing and image distribution
  • Advanced DICOM and HL7 routing algorithms
  • Easy to set up rules-based workflows
  • Seamless integration of complex systems in a single platform

Barriers to Efficiency

The day-to-day responsibilities of a PACS administrator are only gaining in complexity as the business of healthcare evolves in the United States.

The convergence of administrative, technical, and operational issues across the industry is also creating bottlenecks for enterprise imaging organizations.

These barriers include:

  1. Transition to value-based care: As the U.S. healthcare system shifts from a pay-for-service to a pay-for-performance business model, changes are cascading across the industry. Cost controls and reporting requirements are also impacting the daily operations of imaging centers and hospital radiology departments. 
  2. Lack of interoperability in a multi-vendor environment: The adoption of advanced technology in healthcare over the past decade has great promise. However, interoperability between the various systems, even those within the same imaging enterprise, is not guaranteed. Imaging files may not always be accessible at the point-of-care simply because there’s no plug-and-play way for systems to talk to each other. 
  3. Migration solutions for acquired imaging practices and facilities: Healthcare mergers and acquisitions are booming, and there’s no sign of slowing down. While that might be great for business, it creates a significant issue for PACS admins who are responsible for integrating new systems and legacy data into their existing infrastructure. 

Putting intelligent tools to work across your complex imaging organization can help you rise to the challenges of the current healthcare environment and achieve operational efficiencies. 

DICOM router, HL7 image router diagram

SilverBack’s Universal DICOM Routing solution leverages advanced algorithms to deliver the right study, to the right location, at the right time—unbound by storage location or destination application. Timely access to information when and where needed improves care delivery.

Intelligent DICOM Load Balancing and Image Distribution

Intelligent DICOM load balancing with rules-based DICOM image pre-fetching workflows ensures images and reports are ready when and where clinicians need them.

It doesn’t matter how fast the data travels if it’s not the right data. Tools can fetch prior images and reports across any PACS, RIS, VNA, or other data source and intelligently route it to the appropriate destination. They can also evaluate traffic flow in real-time and automatically make adjustments to avoid network congestion.  

With ever-increasing file sizes and the demand for more data, intelligent load balancing ensures your network runs as efficiently as possible.

Advanced Algorithms for HL7 and DICOM Routing

Delivering the right study to the right location at the right time – no matter the storage location or destination application – is key to improving healthcare delivery and meeting the goals of the healthcare quadruple aim. 

Universal routers with advanced algorithms based on pre-selected criteria to power predictive information indexing make just-in-time data management, a critical component of improved operational efficiencies, a reality.

Rules-Based Workflows

PACS admins can take control of image data traffic across the enterprise using rules-based processing tailored to your imaging organization’s business and patient care objectives. 

The interoperability requirements of a multi-system environment demand that study traffic is differentiated and managed through custom logic and filtering profiles.

With the right intelligent tools at your fingertips, you can easily set up workflows to guide selected data along predefined paths to improve efficiencies in routing, filtering, reformatting, translating, compression, and time-based study delivery.

Seamless Integrations

Prioritizing integrations should be central to your enterprise imaging strategy. 

Interoperability between systems can only be achieved and the demands of value-based care can only be met when imaging data is freed from its silo.

Look for an imaging workflow engine that establishes multi-dimensional connections across your existing systems to optimize your current infrastructure.

Improve Operational Efficiency with Intelligent Tools

While the full promise of health tech is still being realized, you can meet the challenges of today’s healthcare environment and increase efficiencies across your imaging enterprise with a workflow solution and universal DICOM router powered by intelligent tools. 

Contact us to discuss how to get started.

Beau Jones

Beau is the Chief Operating Officer of DataFirst with more than 22 years of experience in management and leadership roles in the healthcare and information services industries. Learn more about Beau's experiences and qualifications on our Leadership page.