An Imaging Economics article - The Purview of the PACS Administrator – highlights the critical components of a PACS Administrator’s role that impacts radiology workflow. It is a great article because it outlines many of the key knowledge and work activities required to be an effective PACS Administrator. More than ever, PACS Administrators contributesignificantly todefining, enabling, and refining radiology workflow.
Key Knowledge of a PACS Administrator. DICOM is always the healthcare standard people think about when radiology workflow is mentioned. Today, the knowledge required has expanded to include the HL7 Standard. HL7 integration is the standard that facilitates the data flow between the various applications (e.g., RIS, HIS, EMR, PACS, etc.) and streamlines the workflow by automating various activities. It is refreshing to read an article about PACS Administrators that acknowledges the HL7 Standard as a required element to gain efficiencies in a radiology practice or department.
Key Work Activities. PACS Administrators play an essential role in defining radiology workflows, re-engineering radiology workflows, and enabling radiology workflows with the right technology. This requires the PACS Administrator to have strong interpersonal skills along with strong communication, project management, IT, and healthcare standard skills.
Other key activities include monitoring the data flow, ensuring it is continuous so that a radiologist’s workload is even throughout the day. Again, this article points out it is not just the PACS that needs monitoring but also the integrated systems and interfaces. Seamless workflow requires integrated systems, which also requires flexible and robust interfaces between the various applications. The PACS Administrator is required to know more about data flow between all the systems that eventually touch the PACS or are eventually touched by the PACS.
Equally important is data quality. Automating data flow through the systems and applications removes the opportunity for keying (re-keying) errors; additionally, it means that the data needs to be translated into different formats correctly in order to meet the various applications’ requirements.
As we have discussed in other posts, the PACS Administrator plays many different roles and the responsibilities and knowledge required have grown. In this healthcare IT article, Imaging Economics has delivered this message very competently.