The healthcare system is continuously faced with a number of challenges on the fiscal side, continuous pressures to reduce expenditure and curtail investment. Great emphasis is given to improve patient care by rationalising operations which are envisaged to create greater accountability and performance.

Human resource shortages and occurrence of medical errors in healthcare delivery are creating additional pressures for healthcare providers in which they seek to overcome by adopting new technologies.

Better management of paper based documentation is essential to maximise efficiency of operations in a hospital environment. Errors and time wasted in retrieving patient information is still an issue plaguing the present healthcare system.

Government officials are looking into improving healthcare provision by implementing strategies that would improve patient care, reduce costs and maximise resources in order to counteract long waiting lists. The first steps towards digitization have already begun with an increasing speed. The speed with which the conversion to digitization is taking place is envisaged to change the future of healthcare systems which would predominately bring the characteristics of a paperless and wireless system.

In order to provide a comprehensive continuum of care in musculoskeletal conditions, it is vital to understand the route cause of the orthopaedic related problems prior to considering surgical intervention. The key to the successful treatment of orthopaedic conditions lies in correctly identifying the cause, and for this reason x-rays are often used to facilitate this process. The conventional x-ray films has been known to fail to re produce clear images of the fracture and patients are inconvenienced by repeating the process in order to achieve a film reproduction of the appropriate angle of the fracture.

Healthcare facilities are increasingly moving towards adopting digital imaging systems using a picture archiving and communication system (PACS) to streamline the treatment process.

The picture archiving and communication system (PACS) was originally used in radiology and has slowly been adopted in orthopaedics. A large number of orthopaedic surgeons are still heavily relying on hard-copy images for both patient consultation and pre-operative planning. The application of PACS in orthopaedics has proved to reduce time, effort and cost.

The use of PACS over the conventional hard-copy images offers several advantages for patients, and increases efficiency of operation in hospitals. The paper based archiving system (PACS) being used by many hospitals across the European continent holds a number of potholes which are hindering robust processes of the provision of patient care. In the conventional paper based systems, orthopaedic films can be misplaced and lost, this would have a knock on effect in the essential service to the patient. In essence, this would mean that longer time frames would be needed for the examination of a patient adversely impacting patient waiting lists. This is one of the pivotal problems facing the healthcare system in the UK. Hindering the provision of patient care is not only increasing cost pressures for government healthcare providers but also could prove to be detrimental the patients’ own health.

The implementation of picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) enables simultaneous access to patients’ medical records and the ability to retrieve historical information in off site consultations. The availability of this information ensures the most appropriate course of treatment is followed.

Implementing the picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) system has also offered many cost saving benefits for healthcare providers. The traditional x-ray films require a total of 90 seconds to develop and technicians will need to ensure that the film is diagnostically useable in terms of clarity. If the film is not clear enough the patient will need to retake the x-ray. The digital image is completed in fractions of time and lower radiation dosage in patients is transmitted as less time is required to reproduce the electronic images. Reproducing digitalised x-ray images reduces individual patient visits by 10 to15 minutes. This time could be potentially utilised for the treatment of other patients waiting to receive treatment.

The digitalised x-ray versions can be manipulated to enhance viewing capability by zooming in the fractured area. With conventional film images it is often required to re-take x-ray images in order to get a better image of the fractured area, increasing treating time.

Clinicians using picture archiving and communication system (PACS) are able to access the images quicker and more effectively whilst increasing safety of retrieving correct and consolidated patient records. Additional advantages of using PACS include storage and time effective distribution of patient orthopaedic images. Electronic storage of x-rays could potentially free up space in hospital which can be utilised for additional patient care.

In conclusion, information technology solutions such as picture archiving and communication system (PACS) used in orthopaedics and clinical management systems will aid in addressing some of the time related and safety challenges described above. Besides the administrative functions of revenue cycle management, supply and resource management, information technology such as picture archiving and communication system (PACS) is foreseen to form the backbone of the future medical treatment processes. The digitalised systems will cover aspects from appointment bookings and medical records for the management of imaging and clinical systems.

For further information please contact:

Radhika Menon Theodore
Corporate Communications
+91 44 42044668
rmtheodore@frost.com

www.medicaldevices.frost.com