Journal Article
. 2008 Jun; 63(7):796-804.
doi: 10.1016/j.crad.2007.12.015.

Picture archiving and communication systems lead to sustained improvements in reporting times and productivity: results of a 5-year audit

A D Mackinnon 1 R A Billington  E J Adam  D D Dundas  U Patel  
  • PMID: 18555038
  •     13 citations


Aim: To evaluate the impact of picture archiving and communications systems (PACS) on reporting times and productivity in a large teaching hospital.

Materials And Methods: Reporting time, defined as the time taken from patient registration to report availability, and productivity, defined as the number of reports issued per whole time equivalent (WTE) radiologist per month, were studied for 2 years pre- and 3 years post-PACS installation. Mean reporting time was calculated for plain radiographs and specialist radiology techniques [computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound, and nuclear medicine]. Productivity, total department workload, and unreported film rates were also assessed. Pre- and post-PACS findings were compared.

Results: Between 2002-2006 the number of radiological patient episodes increased by 30% from 11,531/month to 15,057/month. This was accompanied by a smaller increase in WTE reporting radiologists, from 32 to 37 (15%). Mean reporting times have improved substantially post-PACS, plain radiograph reporting time decreased by 26% (from 6.8 to 5 days; p=0.002) and specialty modalities by 24% (4.1 to 3.1 days; p<0.001). Radiologist productivity has increased by 18% (337 films to 407 films/WTE radiologist/month). Unreported films have decreased from 5 to 4% for plain radiographs and are steady for specialty modalities (< 1%). In most areas improvements have been sustained over a 3-year period.

Conclusion: Since the introduction of PACS, reporting times have decreased by 25% and the productivity improved by 18%. Sustained improvements are felt to reflect the efficiencies and cultural change that accompanied the introduction of PACS and digital dictation.

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