Radiologists focus on capturing and interpreting medical images. Although radiologists at one point used and distributed physical copies of medical images, the process now takes place almost entirely on computers. With such a heavy reliance on technology, it’s important for radiologists to have the most efficient, secure software available. In this article, we’ll detail the different types of software radiologists use to fulfill their daily responsibilities.
What does a radiologist do?
Radiologists capture and analyze medical images – often X-rays or other scans – to build a radiology report. A radiology report Includes the details of most standard healthcare documentation, such as the procedure used, clinical history, and findings. In the case of radiology, findings are used to advise patient care with an impression. Radiology reports are added to a patient’s medical records. These reports are generated then archived for future reference.
What software do radiologists use?
Radiologists primarily use PACS and RIS software, but they also might use radiology reporting software, mammography information systems (MIS), peer review software, or aggregators. The goal of each radiology software is to assist radiologists from image capture to diagnosis.
What is a PACS?
PACS stands for picture archiving and communication system. Generally, a PACS carries out all operations directly related to radiology images – including image capture, management, transfer, distribution, and storage.
PACS images are saved in a DICOM format for easy transferability and HIPAA compliance and security. Through its picture archival, images from any timeframe can easily be pulled up and reviewed.
PACS are often integrated with a RIS directly or can easily transfer information to a RIS. Once transferred to the RIS, the image can be associated with a patient.
Universal Viewer vs. PACS
A universal viewer performs some of the same actions as a PACS, but it does not serve as a direct replacement. A universal viewer allows clinicians to view images across medical specialty and even across enterprise. It can also display and store images that are not saved in DICOM file formats.
Although universal viewer software can display more file formats and allow for information to be accessed by multiple departments and enterprises, integration with radiology information systems is not as tight with universal viewers as it is with PACS. Some PACS are even included as part of a radiology information system, known as a RISPACS when combined.
What is a RIS?
A radiology information system (RIS) is a system that allows radiologists, radiographers, and other doctors to reference clinical data and radiological images to build reports and update a patient’s clinical history.
RIS systems are designed to make the radiology workflow more efficient. To make this possible, RIS systems often include features like patient registration and scheduling, report storage, billing and invoice creation, and workflow management for worklist and order creation.
What are worklists and orders?
A worklist, much like it sounds, is a list of tasks assigned to radiologists based on priority. In some instances, worklists are formed and viewable in an RIS. New diagnostic image requests are added to the worklist when an order is made by a physician.
Some facilities use a separate workflow engine that instead integrates with a PACS.
What other software do radiologists use?
Let’s break down some of the specialty or niche radiology software used by radiologists and radiology technologists.
Radiology reporting software is built to assist radiologists with reporting to make the process as streamlined as possible. This software is often integrated with speech recognition to make reporting more efficient and can work in conjunction with the PACS and RIS already used by a facility.
Peer review software and aggregators are more wide-reaching. Peer review software allows radiologists to read reports from other radiologists and compare notes. Peer review is important for continuous improvement for radiologists, as both parties gain valuable radiology insights. Aggregators pull in images and studies from disparate PACS systems and present them in one list. This is also known as an integrated worklist, and it can be used to assign work to radiologists.
MIS systems are similar to a PACS-integrated RIS, but rooted in a more specific procedure, mammography. Radiologists use an MIS to capture, store, distribute, and report for breast images.
Speech recognition in radiology
Radiologists can typically dictate an entire report in one sitting. In some cases, these dictations are transcribed then entered into an RIS. Reports can also be typed manually by the radiologist.
Speech recognition can make radiology reporting more efficient by allowing radiologists to complete reports without relying on a transcriptionist and without needing to type everything out. Some RIS and PACS solutions even come paired with speech recognition, including Carestream Vue PACS. CLICKVIEW has taken speech recognition for radiology a step further by fully integrating speech recognition and workflow automation with their reporting software, allowing for hands-free structured reporting.
Fusion Narrate and Fusion Expert are both excellent speech recognition solutions for radiology. Fusion Narrate is a cloud-based speech recognition software with a radiology-specific medical dictionary and a shortcut builder tool, leading to higher accuracy and a more efficient radiology workflow. Fusion Expert is a speech recognition solution designed specifically for the radiology workflow that allows you to take control of your radiology reporting, increase efficiency, and reduce turnaround times.
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Best radiology software
With so many solutions contributing to the success of radiologists, there are plenty of vendors in the space. It may seem daunting at first to select the radiology software that best fits your needs, but some solutions stand above the rest.
We’ve looked at the most popular and highest rated (with data from KLAS Research) radiology software over the past few years and compiled that information below. This can serve as a preliminary resource as you continue to research the top radiology solutions that are available on the market today.
Sectra offers a RISPACS solution, complete with a universal viewer, MIS, peer review software, business analytics, and more. By combining these features into one solution, Sectra makes the radiology workflow more cohesive – from training and peer review to worklist creation to monitoring performance and making adjustments. Sectra’s comprehensive radiology solution won Best in KLAS in 4 categories in 2021, and has won at least one or multiple Best in KLAS or KLAS Category Leader award for the past 9 years.
Intelerad has built a full suite of radiology products, including a universal viewer, PACS, RIS, and a RISPACS.
InteleViewer, Intelerad’s universal viewer, is a customizable image viewing software built with efficiency and workflow optimization in mind. InteleViewer offers collaboration and communication tools, such as practice-wide peer and image review.
Intelerad’s radiology information system, InteleRIS, makes it easy to access information across sites. InteleRIS also allows for customized interfaces and worklists – meaning it can easily mold to fit the needs of a healthcare facility.
IntelePACS is a globally-recognized, versatile PACS solution. From 2019 – 2021, IntelePACS won the Best in KLAS award for global PACS in Asia/Oceania. IntelePACS can be easily integrated with third-party solutions or as a combined solution with InteleRIS. Medical practices can get more out of IntelePACS with add-on features, such as 3D advanced visualization, breast imaging, and voice recognition.
InteleSuite is a RISPACS that combines IntelePACS and InteleRIS for a complete radiology solution.
Change Healthcare has a suite of radiology products for every step in the radiology workflow. The Change Healthcare PACS – Change Healthcare Radiology Solutions – is a web-based solution with advanced visualization tools. Change Healthcare also offers an MIS, a universal viewer tool, peer review software, a workflow rules engine, and a number of other radiology solutions. Learn more about Change Healthcare solutions.
Note: Change Healthcare Radiology Solutions was previously known as McKesson Radiology until 2018.
Philips offers the 2021 Best in KLAS universal viewer software: Philips Vue Motion (also known as Carestream Vue Motion). Philips Vue Motion is a web-based universal viewer that allows healthcare professionals to view images on-site or remotely. The software can also be embedded in an EMR to easily reference relevant images while building or reviewing a report.
Alongside its universal viewer, Philips also received Best in KLAS and KLAS Category Leader awards for its Global PACS: Carestream Vue PACS. Carestream Vue PACS is a feature-rich PACS that allows clinicians to embed images in reports, automatically perform quantitative analysis, include bookmarks in a report that act as hyperlinks, and native dictation and speech recognition capabilities. Read more about Carestream Vue PACS.
Epic is the largest inpatient EHR system. With such wide adoption, Epic has built solutions or modules for each specialty, including radiology. Epic Radiant is a RIS built by Epic. Many solutions integrate with Epic, as it is such a commonly used EHR. By using Epic Radiant, integrating with existing systems, such as PACS, universal viewers, voice recognition, or other technologies, will be less of a hurdle.
Cerner, the second largest inpatient EHR system, offers a PACS, RIS, and MIS. Each are built to seamlessly transfer information and images. Cerner PACS works within the Cerner EHR and can be used for imaging review, worklist creation, and report building. Cerner RIS allows healthcare personnel to quickly record or view relevant information. Learn more about Cerner radiology solutions.
CLICKVIEW 9i is a radiology structured reporting software. The software is designed to make radiology reporting as fast, accurate, and easy to use as possible. Complex report generation can be reduced to minutes or less with CLICKVIEW.
CLICKVIEW has a direct integration with speech recognition and workflow automation software. Any action that might be made with key presses or mouse clicks can be automated with a voice command using Fusion Narrate. This makes hands-free reporting a possibility. Learn more about CLICKVIEW 9i or see how CLICKVIEW works with Fusion Narrate.
Fusion Narrate is an all-in-one speech recognition software used to increase efficiency for all medical specialties, including radiology. Providers that dictate with Fusion Narrate can use the radiology context dictionary for an even higher level of accuracy.
See how Fusion Narrate can integrate with your RIS, PACS, RISPACS, or any other radiology software.