Radiologists' reading times using PACS and using films: One practice's experience

Howard B. Fleishon, Mythreyi Bhargavan, Cristian Meghea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Rationale and Objectives. To measure the change in radiologists' productivity in terms of interpretation time per examination when using picture archiving and communication system (PACS) workstations in a particular private practice, Valley Radiologists, Ltd, as part of a feasibility study and subsequent business plan to implement a digital enterprise. Materials and Methods. Time to process a series of exams was measured for 18 radiologists during an uninterrupted period of a working day. Radiologists in the practice served in multiple locations. The data were analyzed in aggregate and by modality (plain film, ultrasound, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging). Average time per exam, with and without PACS, was measured for each modality. Regression analysis was used to determine the independent effect of PACS on radiologist productivity. Results. The mean time to process an exam was 1.4 minutes (SE = 0.04) for plain film, 1.96 minutes (SE = 0.14) for ultrasound, 5.08 minutes (SE = 0.44) for computed tomography, and 6.83 minutes (SE = 0.31) for magnetic resonance imaging. Regression results indicate that PACS had no effect on the time taken to read a series of exams. Conclusions. When considering a PACS purchase or implementation, decrease in radiologists' time to process an examination may not be realized. In this specific practice setting, we did not find evidence that PACS workstations alone, without any other changes in workflow design, improved radiologists' interpretation time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)453-460
Number of pages8
JournalAcademic radiology
Volume13
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2006

Keywords

  • PACS
  • Productivity
  • Radiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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