The importance of a picture archiving and communications system (PACS) manager for large-scale PACS installations. (1/23)

Installing a picture archiving and communication system (PACS) is a massive undertaking for any radiology department. Facilities making a successful transition to digital systems are finding that a PACS manager helps guide the way and offers a heightened return on the investment. The PACS manager fills a pivotal role in a multiyear, phased PACS installation. PACS managers navigate a facility through the complex sea of issues surrounding a PACS installation by coordinating the efforts of the vendor, radiology staff, hospital administration, and the information technology group. They are involved in the process from the purchase decision through the design and implementation phases. They can help administrators justify a PACS, purchase and shape the request for proposal (RFP) process before a vendor is even chosen. Once a supplier has been selected, the PACS manager works closely with the vendor and facility staff to determine the best equipment configuration for his or her facility, and makes certain that all deadlines are met during the planning and installation phase. The PACS manager also ensures that the infrastructure and backbone of the facility are ready for installation of the equipment. PACS managers also help the radiology staff gain acceptance of the technology by serving as teachers, troubleshooters, and the primary point-of-contact for all PACS issues. This session will demonstrate the value of a PACS manager, as well as point out ways to determine the manager's responsibilities. By the end of the session, participants will be able to describe the role of a PACS manager as it relates to departmental operation and in partnership with equipment vendors, justify a full-time position for a PACS manager, and identify the qualifications of candidates for the position of PACS manager.  (+info)

Adoption of alternative financing strategies to increase the diffusion of picture archiving and communication systems into the radiology marketplace. (2/23)

The objective of the study was to evaluate current marketplace conditions and strategies employed by major picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) vendors in the creation of alternative financing strategies, to enhance the diffusion of filmless imaging. Data were collected from the major PACS vendors in the forms of survey questionnaires and review of existing leases. Topics evaluated in the survey included current financing options available, foreseeable changes in PACS financing, role of third-party financiers, and creation of risk-sharing arrangements. Generic leases were also reviewed evaluating the presence or absence of several key variables including technology obsolescence protection, hardware/software upgrades, end-of-term options, determination of fair market value, functionality/acceptance testing, uptime guarantees, and workflow management consulting. Eight of the 10 PACS vendors surveyed participated in the data collection. The vast majority of current PACS implementations (60% to 90%) occur through direct purchase, with conventional leasing (operating or capital) accounting for only 5% to 30% of PACS installations. The majority of respondents view fee-for-lease arrangements and other forms of risk sharing as increasing importance for future PACS financing. The specific targets for such risk-sharing arrangements consist of small hospital and privately owned imaging centers. Leases currently offered range in duration from 3 to 5 years and frequently offer technology obsolescence protection with upgrades, multiple end-of-term options, and some form of acceptance testing. A number of important variables frequently omitted from leases include uptime guarantees, flexibility in changing financing or vendors, and incorporation of expected productivity/operational efficiency gains. As vendors strive to increase the penetration of PACS into the radiology marketplace, there will be a shift from conventional financing (loan or purchase) to leasing. Fee-for-use leasing and other forms of risk sharing have the greatest potential in smaller hospitals, which do not have the financial resources to pursue conventional financing options. Potential PACS customers must be cautious when entering into these alternative financing strategies, to ensure that appropriate safeguards are incorporated, in order to minimize downside risk.  (+info)

Solutions to health care waste: life-cycle thinking and "green" purchasing. (3/23)

Health care waste treatment is linked to bioaccumulative toxic substances, such as mercury and dioxins, which suggests the need for a new approach to product selection. To address environmental issues proactively, all stages of the product life cycle should be considered during material selection. The purchasing mechanism is a promising channel for action that can be used to promote the use of environmentally preferable products in the health care industry; health care facilities can improve environmental performance and still decrease costs. Tools that focus on environmentally preferable purchasing are now emerging for the health care industry. These tools can help hospitals select products that create the least amount of environmental pollution. Environmental performance should be incorporated into the evolving definition of quality for health care.  (+info)

Commissioning laboratory services. (4/23)

Scientists often develop techniques that have obvious benefits for patients but then find great difficulty in introducing them into the National Health Service-usually because the necessary finance does not seem to be available. This article provides a practical guide.  (+info)

Design and implementation of a portal for the medical equipment market: MEDICOM. (5/23)

BACKGROUND: The MEDICOM (Medical Products Electronic Commerce) Portal provides the electronic means for medical-equipment manufacturers to communicate online with their customers while supporting the Purchasing Process and Post Market Surveillance. The Portal offers a powerful Internet-based search tool for finding medical products and manufacturers. Its main advantage is the fast, reliable and up-to-date retrieval of information while eliminating all unrelated content that a general-purpose search engine would retrieve. The Universal Medical Device Nomenclature System (UMDNS) registers all products. The Portal accepts end-user requests and generates a list of results containing text descriptions of devices, UMDNS attribute values, and links to manufacturer Web pages and online catalogues for access to more-detailed information. Device short descriptions are provided by the corresponding manufacturer. The Portal offers technical support for integration of the manufacturers Web sites with itself. The network of the Portal and the connected manufacturers sites is called the MEDICOM system. OBJECTIVES: To establish an environment hosting all the interactions of consumers (health care organizations and professionals) and providers (manufacturers, distributors, and resellers of medical devices). METHODS: The Portal provides the end-user interface, implements system management, and supports database compatibility. The Portal hosts information about the whole MEDICOM system (Common Database) and summarized descriptions of medical devices (Short Description Database); the manufacturers servers present extended descriptions. The Portal provides end-user profiling and registration, an efficient product-searching mechanism, bulletin boards, links to on-line libraries and standards, on-line information for the MEDICOM system, and special messages or advertisements from manufacturers. Platform independence and interoperability characterize the system design. Relational Database Management Systems are used for the system s databases. The end-user interface is implemented using HTML, Javascript, Java applets, and XML documents. Communication between the Portal and the manufacturers servers is implemented using a CORBA interface. Remote administration of the Portal is enabled by dynamically-generated HTML interfaces based on XML documents. A representative group of users evaluated the system. The aim of the evaluation was validation of the usability of all of MEDICOM s functionality. The evaluation procedure was based on ISO/IEC 9126 Information technology - Software product evaluation - Quality characteristics and guidelines for their use. RESULTS: The overall user evaluation of the MEDICOM system was very positive. The MEDICOM system was characterized as an innovative concept that brings significant added value to medical-equipment commerce. CONCLUSIONS: The eventual benefits of the MEDICOM system are (a) establishment of a worldwide-accessible marketplace between manufacturers and health care professionals that provides up-to-date and high-quality product information in an easy and friendly way and (b) enhancement of the efficiency of marketing procedures and after-sales support.  (+info)

Competitive bidding for interventional cardiology supplies: lessons learned during round 2. (6/23)

OBJECTIVE: To assess the magnitude of savings and develop concepts for "best strategies" in reducing costs in the purchasing of high-technology, high-cost materials used in coronary interventions and electrophysiologic treatments. STUDY DESIGN: Observational experience in competitive bidding for defibrillators, pacemakers, coronary stents, and coronary balloon catheters at a large, midwestern, publicly owned, academic cardiovascular center. METHODS: Iterative negotiation following a broad request for proposal sent to a diverse group of vending organizations in high-technology areas of cardiology. Product costs and volume usage were assessed before and after the process to estimate annualized cost reduction achieved. RESULTS: Using a combination of identification of preferred vendors; consignment of supplies; and collaborative consensus among physicians, administration, materials management, purchasing, and vendors, an annualized savings of more than $1.3 million was achieved. CONCLUSIONS: Aggressive, collaborative, fair, and competitive bidding for high-cost products used for coronary interventions and electrophysiologic treatments leads to substantial cost savings and can promote provider-industry partnerships that further enhance product use, provision, and tracking.  (+info)

Can environmental purchasing reduce mercury in U.S. health care? (7/23)

Environmental purchasing represents an innovative approach to mercury control for the health care sector in the United States. The U.S. health care sector creates significant environmental impacts, including the release of toxic substances such as mercury. Our goal in this study was to provide the health care industry with a method of identifying the environmental impacts associated with the products they use. The Health Care Environmental Purchasing Tool (HCEPT) was developed and tested at nine health care facilities in the Great Lakes region of the United States. As a result, more than 1 kg of mercury was removed from four facilities. The complexity of the supply chain inhibits a direct environmental information exchange between health-care decision makers and suppliers. However, a dialogue is starting within the health care supply chain to address environmental issues. The HCEPT has been shown to assist health care facilities with that dialogue by identifying products that have environmental consequences. This promising tool is now available for further experimentation and modification, to facilitate overall environmental improvement, and to provide a systematic method for environmental assessment of health care products.  (+info)

Decisions about critical events in device-related scenarios as a function of expertise. (8/23)

This paper presents the perspectives of personnel involved in decision-making about devices in critical care. We use the concept of "sharp and blunt ends" of practice to describe the performance of health care professionals. The "sharp end" is physically and temporally close to the system; the "blunt end" is removed from the system in time and space and yet affects the system through indirect influence on the sharp end. In this study, the sharp end is represented by the clinicians (nurses and doctors) and the blunt end by the administrators and biomedical engineers. These subjects represent the professionals involved in the decision-making process for purchasing biomedical equipment for the hospital. They were asked to "think aloud" while evaluating three error scenarios based on real events. The responses were recorded and transcribed for analysis. The results show differences in interpretation of critical events as a function of professional expertise. The clinicians (sharp-end practitioners) focused on clinical and human aspect of errors while the biomedical engineers focused on device-related errors. The administrators focused on documentation and training. These different interpretations mean that the problems are represented differently by these groups of subjects, and these representations result in variable decisions about devices. These results are discussed within a systems approach framework to help us assess the completeness of the problem representations of the subjects, their awareness of critical events, and how these events would collectively contribute to the occurrence of error.  (+info)