Many radiologists with a special interest in ultrasound believe that PACS are not entirely suiting their needs when it comes to ultrasound imaging, according to a study published recently in the Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine.
For the study, a survey was sent to members of the Society of Radiologists in Ultrasound asking them to rate: their ultrasound experience in different modalities; the quality of PACS functions on ultrasound practice and diagnosis; whether they believe those functions should be implemented or improved; and how PACS affect their ultrasound practice.
One-hundred sixty-one radiologists responded to the survey, 112 of whom used a radiology PACS. Of those respondents, a little more than half (53.2 percent) gave a high rating to their ultrasound PACS experience--substantially less than their experience with CT (85.2 percent), MRI (84.4 percent) and radiography (83.2 percent).
As far as PACS functions were concerned, the radiologists gave ultrasound-specific display, image processing and data management functions significantly lower grades than basic PACS functions. For example, less than 1 percent of the respondents gave a high rating to PACS handling of 3-D ultrasound volume data.
Not surprisingly, most radiologists said they would like to see these ultrasound-specific functions improved, adding that PACS improve their ultrasound practices overall, although their ability to contribute to more complex image analysis is limited.
The study suggests that radiologist attitudes about the performance of ultrasound features on PACS hasn't changed much over the years. An article on AuntMinnie.com from 2010 reported on a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine that found that more than 40 percent of the respondents rated the overall ultrasound capabilities of their radiology PACS as either fair or poor.