We are currently building our Outline Business Case for a Trustwide PACS. We have listed a number of perceived benefits including Cost reductions in image storage and retrieval, Improved reporting efficiency, Improved accuracy of diagnosis, More efficient use of Radiologists and Radiographers time and Improved quality of patient care...........and so on, and so on. I'm sure many existing PACS sites have performed many studies to substantiate that these benefits were actually realised, following full implementation of their system. I would be grateful for any 'hard evidence' that has been published or references to any papers or articles that contain such information. Thanks in advance.
The lack of dialogue in response to Dave Probert's question about benefits probably reflects the difficulties we have all found in quantifying some of the benefits he mentions. Image production, storage and transport are relatively simple. They are also real benefits in the NHS Mickey Mouse financial system. It is much more difficult to quantify reporting efficiencies although they are perceived as real, and I have measured my own plain radiographic reporting performance and found that it improved (until I started using Voice Recognition reporting - but that is a different issue!). The issue of diagnostic accuracy is even more difficult to measure. Nicola Strickland and I had a conversation about this a few weeks ago, and, although we both perceive this to be true, neither of us would have the courage to put that impression in print. Radiologist's and Radiographers's time, especially the latter, is undoubtedly used more efficiently. We have reduced our radiographic workforce covering plain radiography since going to PACS for instance. The improved quality of patient care is also perceived by clinicians but is difficult to quantify. There are some published data about PACS benefits, some of it from UK experience, but at the N&N we were very cautious about the financial savings which would accrue from PACS and we have exceeded them. It was, however, not a particularly scientific or well documented trail. I suspect the same applies to other PACS sites.
I replied to Dave Proberts request "off-line" as I had asked a similar question of the group some weeks ago who had pointed me to a number of reference sources. I agree with John Pilling's comments and these have been confirmed in my work in assembling the evidence of benefits for PACS. Evidence based clinical IT requires considerable effort in digging around but I will share what I have found with the group when I have finished. As John suggests, not all benefits have a =A3 note attached to them and the majority are quality benefits difficult to incorporate into a spreadsheet but nonetheless significant. Sean Brennan