THE WINDWARD WIRE

Migrating Medical: Document Images from PACS to EMR

Mindy Rathe
August 15, 2012

A Healthcare provider's PACS (picture archive and communication system) is the definition of a legacy patient record system. Since its inception, it has been the repository of choice for a number of regularly generated medical images. These include ultrasound, magnetic resonance, computed tomography, endoscopy, mammograms, radiography and ophthalmology. The images are created in the DICOM format, which stores patient data with the image. Until more current technologies were developed, PACS was also used for a number of other documents within hospitals and clinics, making it their default document management solution.

Healthcare providers have moved to more current technologies for their clinical and administrative processes. Most larger hospitals have deployed electronic medical/health records systems (EMR/EHR), such as Cerner, McKesson and EPIC. However, much of their past patient information and related documents, still reside in their legacy PACS system.

Migrating both medical and document images and their associated metadata into the new EMR system saves healthcare providers significant time and money and leverages their financial investment in EMR. Supporting a legacy application like PACS in parallel with a new EMR can be outrageously expensive—easily in the millions for many. By consolidating all content into the new EMR, hospitals will realize significant savings through reduced maintenance and streamlined processes. The risk of losing patient information is decreased dramatically, and you have all of your staff working on a single system. This also reduces training time and expenses when hiring new staff.

However, doing the consolidation can be tricky. The benefits of migrating all medical information and documents to your EMR system can be enormous, from reduced risk to improved efficiencies to the elimination of expensive legacy applications. When doing so, it is critical that you take care of your legacy data and safely migrate it to your new system and working with an experienced partner like The Windward Group can be just what the doctor ordered to get a better and faster financial return on your EMR investment.

Contact us to learn more about migrating PACS information to your EMR system.