When one talks about an integrated radiology department, one must consider the established and planned information systems in and the workflow of the department. It is not enough to look at the data flow throughout the department; one must also look at radiology from the process perspective.
The first part of this chapter (Section 11.2) deals with data flow and how information is shared between Radiology or Hospital Information Systems (RIS or HIS), Picture Archiving and Communications Systems (PACS), and imaging modalities. Ownership of information, options for connectivity, testing connectivity solutions, and administration of the PACS are discussed here. The information provided in Section 11.2 will provide one with an understanding of the complexities, options, and areas of concern for connecting multiple information systems within a radiology department.
The second part of this chapter (Section 11.3) deals with the processes within the radiology department. It provides solutions to support the entire radiology workflow. Access to digital information does not necessarily translate into a better organized, more efficient, or improved service department. The integration of systems for the exchange of data has to be complemented by the integration and automation of processes. This part of the chapter deals with the workflow perspective of system integration.
Since processes in film-based radiology departments can be inefficient, labor-intensive, costly, and time-consuming, one must look to change these processes when moving from a film-based to a digital department. Section 11.3 looks at information systems that help manage these changes.
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