Radiologists: PACS workstations hamper efficiency

Despite the omnipresence of picture archiving and communication systems in today's radiology environment, radiologists remain dissatisfied with the efficiency of PACS software, according to a research study by the American College of Radiology's Image Metric imaging contract research organization.

In the study, published online in the Journal of the American College of Radiology, University of Virginia School of Medicine professor of radiology Bruce Hillman, M.D. (right), and colleagues surveyed five radiologists from different subspecialties and determined that each found their workstations hampered efficiency by not being very intuitive.

According to the researchers, these radiologists reported that current workstations don't present with them a user-friendly way of accessing the full range of tools and options available. In addition, there can be a wide variability among the workstation interfaces they use on a daily basis. The radiologists reported that this lack of intuitiveness contributed to inefficiencies that reduced productivity and caused fatigue, therefore potentially reducing accuracy.

Hillman told that two major reasons why these problems persist is that "users aren't consulted enough in the early stages of development, and that end users have a lot of individual preferences that are hard [for vendors] to address and still make a profit selling the workstation."

Although the number of radiologists in the study was small, the authors believe their findings can serve as the basis for future research and changes in system design. "Developers of future diagnostic imaging solutions have an opportunity to remedy those aspects of current systems that reduce productivity while improving the value of radiologists' interpretations," they wrote.

To learn more:
- see the study in the Journal of the American College of Radiology
- read the article in

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