Digital Radiography and PACS — Critical Advantages for Your Facility

For medical facilities to offer the most effective patient care possible, smooth and instantaneous access to patient data that includes X-ray images must be available on demand, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Combining DR (digital radiography) and PACS (picture archiving and communication system) can meet that need.

A flow chart and graphic show how digital radiography and PACS work together to to provide critical patient data and high-quality X-ray scans to various workstations.

Digital radiography with PACS provides the following advantages, as well as many others:

  • Patient scans can be stored as electronic data rather than chemically developed hard-copy images
  • Makes critical patient data available at all times and across all workstations almost instantaneously
  • Increases speed of patient care
  • Creates a smoother workflow

Just as important is the added security that comes with PACS storage of digital radiography data — a drastic improvement over hard-copy images that must be filed away in some type of physical storage facility and kept under actual lock and key while supervised by staff.

PACS systems are quickly becoming a central component of healthcare today and are offered by many vendors, including Carestream Health, Konica Minolta, and many others.

Let’s take a look at some additional advantages of storing DR X-ray images in a PACS system.

More Efficient Development and Storage

One of the greatest advantages to digital radiography is the elimination of the chemical development processes.

Transitioning to DR and utilizing a PACS system saves time developing, filing, and retrieving images. It also saves a lot of money that’s normally spent on both developing chemicals and the supplies required to store those physical images, including envelopes, filing cabinets, and even the storage space itself.

It is the elimination of insecure hard-copy files that makes all the other advantages of DR and PACS possible.

Stronger Security and Stricter HIPAA Compliance

Complying with HIPAA (Health Information Portability and Accountability Act) security standards required for patient confidentiality can be both complicated and labor-intensive, especially if you’re trying to coordinate massive quantities of information stored in a mixed bag of data storage that includes both digital data and physical records (like traditional photographic X-ray images).

Under such conditions, an increased likelihood for human error can lead to violations of confidentiality requirements. By storing scans digitally, a high level of security can be maintained through the following:

  • Encryption
  • Passwords
  • Layers of access clearance

These methods are far more secure than checking hard-copy images in and out of an extensive system of filing cabinets that must be monitored by individuals.

In other words, the storage modality of digital radiography combined with PACS can reduce the risk of patient confidentiality breaches and help your practice or facility avoid costly investigations or penalties.

A tablet displays 4 patient X-rays. Having this critical patient information so conveniently available is one of the advantages of digital radiography and PACS systems.

Greater Flexibility to Upgrade

Taking advantage of digital radiography and PACS technologies allows medical facilities offering X-ray services to cope with the need for an ever-expanding data storage and management system, all while maintaining the fastest-possible access to patient data.

Medical facilities can now easily add or remove stored data, as well as increase storage capacity of their PACS according to their projected needs. With the cost of cloud-based data storage steadily decreasing, digital storage of large quantities of X-ray or other patient scans within PACS has become affordable for almost any medical facility.

Read about a rural Kansas hospital that made the switch here.

Simplified Backup and Disaster Recovery

The nature of digital storage means a second or third copy of everything can be stored in a separate location with very little additional effort or space required.

When dealing with critical patient data that needs to be available at any moment for emergency services in life-saving scenarios, having backup data is a tremendous advantage. A system failure can’t be allowed to shut down crisis services or other critical patient care.

Digital radiography and PACS make that constant state of readiness possible.

Upgrading to Digital Radiography — Now Is the Time

These advantages might make it seem that digital radiography and PACS cloud storage would be beyond your budget.

However, the experts at Southwest X-Ray can help you find a solution that will enable you to utilize the advantages of digital radiography and PACS storage while staying within budget.

Click to learn more about the possibilities for converting to digital technology with Southwest X-Ray.

Shad Merchant

Shad Merchant is an industry veteran with experience in every aspect of the X-ray and imaging industry, having spent over 20 years assisting small medical practices, massive hospital systems, and everyone in between, all over the world, to find the right imaging solution for their needs. Contact him at shadm@swxray.com to learn more about what equipment is right for you.

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