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A "RIS-less" Teleradiology Solution: A New Vocabulary Takes Hold in Radiology IT

Posted May 18 2010 12:00am

I frequently scan press releases from healthcare IT vendors in order to understand the vocabulary that is used to describe new products. A recent one provided me with some useful insights (see: Imaging On Call Achieves Full Speech Recognition in RIS-less Environment with Integrated Document Solutions ).

Integrated Document Solutions ,..., a provider of web-based, modular health documentation solutions and Imaging On Call (IOC) , an industry leading teleradiology provider, today announced the successful implementation of a groundbreaking RIS-less teleradiology solution using 100 percent speech recognition and template-based reporting....Using a thin-layer, cloud-based approach, IDS and IOC were able to deploy, in less than 30 days, a solution that automates report creation, advanced formatting and distribution that today supports more than 30 radiologists around the world serving more than 70 ERs, hospitals and medical facilities. IDS stated that similar server-less and RIS-less implementations are rare in the marketplace....Previously, IOC radiologists had to invoke separate applications, cut and paste text into the PACS and help route the report back to the right parties. The IDS solution features highly individualized and automated web-based accounts, frees radiologists from performing numerous manual steps and provides a single point for managing templates, among other proprietary features.

To set the stage, Imaging On Call is a teleradiology provider that turned to Integrated Document Solutions to provide a web-based radiology reporting and routing system for the 30 radiologists it employs around the world. Obviously in such a setting, a premium is placed on template-based reporting as well as speech recognition. The former feature is obviously an advantage for such a far-flung operation in order to maintain the quality control of image interpretation and reporting. I think that the very short time cited above to deploy the new system can be explained, in part, by the somewhat limited functionality of the new system compared to a standard RIS. However, I don't want to diminish the value of the achievement. Here are some of the phrases in the press release that stuck me as worthy of note:

  • Wed-based modular health documentation solution: A teleradiology company does not require the patient management and scheduling applications that are necessary in a standard RIS deployed in the hospitals generating the images that are then interpreted by the teleradiologists. Hence, a company like IOC can turn to a company specializing in "documentation" to provide a global web-based reporting and routing system.
  • RIS-less teleradiology solution: As noted above, the IOC teleradiologists make use primarily of the reporting and routing functions of an RIS so the company has the luxury of migrating these functions to the web and achieving a so-called RIS-free state. I do object, perhaps prematurely, to the potential and future use of the term LIS-less in press releases. It sounds too much like listless.
  • Thin-layer, cloud based approach: I have posted a number of previous notes about cloud computing , which I think will be an irresistible architecture for digital imaging in both pathology and radiology. I take the use of "thin-layer" in the press release to mean that the IOC radiologists around the globe access their new web-based system using PC-based browsers.
For a teleradiology company, having web-based reporting and routing system is a necessary but insufficient condition for ensuring that its radiologists operate efficiently and effectively. Obviously, also having PACS functionality is a necessary component, as referenced in the article above. Luckily, a number of companies already provide a web portal for PACS functions including Aurora Interactive .
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