One of the key determinants influencing how successfully a radiology department can
convert from a conventional film-based environment to an exclusively digital imaging
environment may be how well referring physician members of the hospital staff who are
not radiologists endorse this new system. The benefits of Picture Archive and
Communication Systems (PACS) to radiologists are becoming widely accepted and
documented; however, physicians who interact with the radiology department represent an
important user group whose views on PACS are less well understood. The acceptance of
PACS by referring physicians (clinicians) may be critical to the overall utility ofPACS as
well as a major drivingforce behind why a hospitalpurchases PACS. The degree to which
referring physicians support PACS may be dependent upon many factors.
This study identifies several aspects through the administration and analysis ofa survey
which improve PACS acceptance by nonradiology physicians. It appears the more patients
a referring physician sends to the radiology department, the more time a physician spends
traveling to andfrom thefllmflle room retrievingfllms, and, the more interested a referring
physician is about computers, the higher his interest is in PACS. If a referring physician
believes that PACS will save him or her time, will reduce the incidence oflostfilms, or will
cause performance of radiology exams or generation of reports to be more efficient, the
referring physician appears more likely to support PACS and to make the initial time
investment necessary to learn how PACS equipment operates.
The factors which cause referring physicians to support PACS are principally: (1) the
elimination oflost, misplaced, and checked outfllms, and (2) the elimination oftrips to and
from thefile room. The major distractions ofthe technology are: (1) system reliability, and
(2) reduced diagnostic capability. While the high cost ofPACS is also a distraction, it is
not the predominant concern.