The impact of a health IT changeover on Medical Imaging Department work processes and turnaround times

a mixed method study

A. Georgiou, M. Prgomet*, S. Lymer, A. Hordern, L. Ridley, J. Westbrook

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives:To assess the impact of introducing a new Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) and Radiology Information System (RIS) on: (i) Medical Imaging work processes; and (ii) turnaround times (TATs) for x-ray and CT scan orders initiated in the Emergency Department (ED). Methods:We employed a mixed method study design comprising: (i) semi-structured interviews with Medical Imaging Department staff; and (ii) retrospectively extracted ED data before (March/ April 2010) and after (March/April 2011 and 2012) the introduction of a new PACS/RIS. TATs were calculated as: processing TAT (median time from image ordering to examination) and reporting TAT (median time from examination to final report). Results:Reporting TAT for x-rays decreased significantly after introduction of the new PACS/RIS; from a median of 76 hours to 38 hours per order (p<.0001) for patients discharged from the ED, and from 84 hours to 35 hours (p<.0001) for patients admitted to hospital. Medical Imaging staff reported that the changeover to the new PACS/RIS led to gains in efficiency, particularly regarding the accessibility of images and patient-related information. Nevertheless, assimilation of the new PACS/RIS with existing Departmental work processes was considered inadequate and in some instances unsafe. Issues highlighted related to the synchronization of work tasks (e.g., porter arrangements) and the material set up of the work place (e.g., the number and location of computers). Conclusions: The introduction of new health IT can be a “double-edged sword” providing improved efficiency but at the same time introducing potential hazards affecting the effectiveness of the Medical Imaging Department.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-453
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Clinical Informatics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2015

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