In a first step toward creating electronic medical records for its patients, Atlantic General Hospital and Health System today launched PACS, or Picture Archiving and Communications Systems.
The system will store x-rays, ultrasounds, and other “pictures” generated in the hospital’s Imaging department in a database as soon as they are taken, making them immediately available to the radiologist or to a physician who has referred a patient.
The new system greatly improves efficiency, eliminating the storage costs involved with printed films and decreasing retrieval time for images; receiving an image or radiology report now involves the click of a button rather than waiting for someone to physically locate the record in an archive and find a way to transmit the information.
Physicians within the hospital and in the health system offices can access the PACS information, including a radiologist’s report, via a network. Any area provider outside the health system who has broadband internet capabilities and the required hardware can access the PACS system through a web-based interface.
For those providers who are unable to use the PACS system, a patient’s images and reports can be burned to a CD for the patient on the date of an appointment to take directly to his or her physician.
“We’re really excited about this system and what it can mean for creating an entire electronic medical record for patients,” said Bob Abbott, director of the Imaging Department at Atlantic General Hospital. “Storing and transmitting patient information electronically improves efficiency and allows healthcare providers easier, more timely access to a patient’s records to facilitate treatment.”
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