HealthLeaders Media: As the industry moves forward with health information exchanges, what is your strategy to ensure you have the proper infrastructure in place to support the exchange of data from your PACS?
Rousseau: Our strategy to support our infrastructure is to continue to invest in our personnel by ensuring that they stay proficient in the use and management of the PACS system. We also have groups in IT, radiology, and administration who meet regularly to ensure we're meeting our regulatory directives and the needs of our customers—both patients and physicians. Having all three parties—from IT, radiology, and administration—together has been crucial to our success. We also have scheduled bi-weekly meetings with our PACS vendor. During these meetings, we discuss support cases and talk about ways we use the system or ways we'd like to see the system modified to meet our needs.
HealthLeaders Media: What are the key elements organizations should focus on with regard to PACS to ensure they are positioned for success in the next five years?
Rousseau: Key elements would include a group within an organization that includes radiology, IT, and administration that works together to discuss PACS—not only during implementation but during its operational phase, as well. I also would strongly suggest finding a PACS vendor that treats you like a partner not just a customer. Talk to your end users—both physicians and patients—because the easier you make it for them, the more successful you'll be. And be sure you spend time understanding your needs for your interface from the RIS to the PACS. A well interfaced system will pay dividends everyday, whereas a poorly implemented one will cost you every day. One lesson learned is this: You'll always underestimate storage and bandwidth needs. That is why it's important to have groups meeting after your implementation.