New Electronic Imaging System “PACS” Launched at SKMC

WAM Abu Dhabi, 12th Aug. 2009 The Division of Information Technology at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC), managed by Cleveland Clinic, has gone live with a new Electronic Imaging System to manage the storage, retrieval and viewing of all Radiological images in an electronic format. The system will improve patient care and safety, enhance patient confidentiality, and eliminate unnecessary scanning of films and duplication of testing. SKMC is owned and operated by SEHA, the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company, which is responsible for the curative activities of all the public hospitals and clinics in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Recently, SKMC adopted the platform of Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS), by Philips, which was supported by SEHA as part of a system-wide initiative to implement state-of -the-art technologies that directly enhances and improves the patient care experience. The integration of PACS with the HIS (Cerner) system, which is being installed at SEHA hospitals, will facilitate a quicker result reporting process and directly feed into the patient electronic medical record.

The IT Division strategy is to create integrated health information solutions that provide physicians and other care providers with the appropriate tools to make sound clinical decisions. The successful implementation of PACS is an important step in achieving this goal and supporting the rollout of the rest of the HIS modules at SKMC.

H.E. Saif Bader Al Qubaisi, SEHA Chairman, said, “I congratulate all the members of the project team of SKMC. This milestone is the one in a series of steps to automate medical recordkeeping and other electronic patient-centered systems. We are harnessing technology to improve efficiency and safety in our hospitals and buildings on the Emirate’s e-government initiative.” Dr Scott Strong, CEO of SKMC, said, “We are proud to adopt PACS at SKMC because the system was created and designed to help health organizations improve clinical outcomes by driving error, variance and waste from the care process. These solutions allow clinical images to be electronically stored and viewed on any computer screen within the Medical City, which eliminates the old approach of capturing x-rays and scans on film or paper. PACS will help make the imaging process safer and more efficient for our patients at SKMC”.

“Our vision to provide the best care possible requires the use of healthcare information technology to complement our clinical activities, which are delivered in compliance with Joint Commission International standards”, Dr Strong added.

Dr Atul Mehta, Chief Medical Officer at SKMC, said, “It is very important when treating a patient to have access to their imaging studies and radiological scans, especially in emergency cases when time is of the essence. By implementing this system, healthcare providers at SKMC will instantly share the same patient-data and view the tests in a timely manner. This gives all providers the information they need to expedite treatment and improve outcomes.

“Implementing the PACS technology has several benefits for our patients as well as our employees. It allows greater collaboration among clinicians and other hospital personnel throughout the patient care experience. With the use of voice recognition technology, radiologists will be able to report on studies in a much more efficient and precise manner. Duplicate patient imaging will be eliminated due to a single source of accurate, up-to-date patient information,” said Mr. Sulaiman H. Sulaiman, Chief Information Officer at SKMC.

“The system will be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by clinicians anywhere within SKMC and its Family Health Clinics providing a continuum of care for our patients. Digital Images and radiological studies will be stored and updated electronically with important safeguards to protect patient confidentiality.” He added that, “The aim of this Information Technology tool is to ultimately support our radiologists and other clinicians in providing the best healthcare to our patients. We strive to offer the best medical care, and look forward to continue serving our patients with the latest implementation of this new state-of-the-art digital imaging technology.” Dr. Peter Lange, Chairman of Radiology at SKMC, said, “PACS technology allows healthcare professionals to look at imaging studies at the touch of a button. Radiological studies such as plain film X-rays, CT- and MRI examinations, as well as Ultrasound studies, angiographic images and scanned images can now be viewed on screens in different locations at SKMC such as x-ray departments, out-patients clinics, operating rooms and in-patient wards simultaneously”.

“The system also gives our Radiologists and other clinicians instant access to previous x-ray investigations, allowing them to compare old images with new ones. This is especially useful when treating long-term medical conditions. Images can be rotated, enlarged and manipulated in other ways, thus enabling doctors to diagnose conditions quicker and more accurately”. Dr Lange added. “PACS allows timely reporting and clinical decision-making, and will increase efficiency. The technology improves the quality of care by speeding up the diagnostic process and improving the accuracy of diagnoses”.

A number of radiologists, physicians and staff agreed that the PACS technology save them time and will help reduce inaccurate diagnosis reports and imaging studies. It will improve communication between care providers and patients, which facilitates quicker and more effective patient treatment. On the other side, patients championed this electronic technology that allows their doctor to view their x-ray investigations and imaging studies on the computer screen while they are at the clinic and at any time.

Mr. Sulaiman added that, “Imaging studies will be accessed easily and the patient’s health care information will be shared efficiently, securely and confidentially between health care providers in all linked SKMC hospitals and Family Medicine Clinics”.

“Our physicians, the radiology department staff and other medical staff that need access to imaging studies from different departments at SKMC were trained to use the new system as part of the project implementation process. We would like to thank them all for their tremendous efforts in getting this system effectively deployed at SKMC” Mr. Sulaiman avowed. “The PACS technology will ultimately allow us to improve patient safety and enable our employees to provide the highest quality of care possible.” PACS was successfully launched on the 31st of May, 2009. It involved all SKMC facilities including the Surgical Pavilion, Medical Pavilion, Outpatient Specialty Clinics, Abu Dhabi Rehabilitation Center (ADRC), Behavioral Sciences Pavilion (BSP), Urgent Care Centers and the Family Medicine Clinics.