Business Continuity Improves With Offsite Services

PACSAn old saying says, “to err is human, but to really mess things up takes a computer.” For radiology departments linked to the wrong systems, and sometimes even the right systems that are mismanaged, this saying has significance. Increasingly, healthcare providers are relying on their PACS for medical imaging management. When the PACS has an issue, most providers can expect downtime and challenges with business continuity.

The benefit of a PACS is that it can help you quickly access your medical images. Unfortunately, when they fail, you suddenly have zero access, unless you’re using soft images as your backup. A study carried out at Brooke Army Medical Center found that the PACS failed around five times a year, each time lasting one to two hours. They would switch to a paper-based system whenever their HIS had to be brought down for maintenance. However, they also found out that when the PACS and HIS were merged, they had to carefully monitor them during downtime to prevent more severe implications.

The merging process is beneficial because of the transcription studies that have to be carried out. When the HIS goes down, all transcription comes to a full stop due to the fact that study demographics are assigned to and stored by the HIS.

Downtime with PACS has several causes, the most damaging of which are related to software failures. Non-software related failures could cause downtime from 15 minutes to three hours. Regularly scheduled maintenance of the PACS occurs once a week, causing a one to two hour cessation in service.

Despite these issues, the digital process still outperforms film-based studies. However, thanks to innovations in the cloud, going offsite with medical image management has offered a way around the issues that occur with massive, on-site PACS archiving systems.

The cloud-based vendors offer secure and near 100 percent access to your medical images. Business continuity is a major focus of these vendors. To make sure this happens, they use multiple data centers where your images are duplicated and geographically distanced for even more safety. For instance, should a major storm wipe out one data center or render it useless for hours or days, a separate data center unaffected by the storm will continue to allow you unfettered access.

Business continuity is important to everyone, which is why cloud-based solutions are beginning to make a bigger impression on healthcare providers.

OffSite Image Management, Inc., is a company that is leading the way for solutions that offer offsite, secure, efficient and cost-effective archiving, access and shareability of your medical images. Our business continuity strategies involve Level IV data centers where your images are guarded, secure, safe and always available. Contact us today for more information about how we can lower your costs and improve your level of patient care.