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Proceedings Paper

PACS economics and the referring physician
Author(s): Allan O. Saarinen; M. C. Wilson; Scott C. Iverson; David R. Haynor; John W. Loop
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Paper Abstract

One of the touted potential benefits of Picture Archive and Communications Systems (PACS) is that these systems will save referring physicians significant time by eliminating their trips to andfrom the radiology departmentfile room. To date, this potential savings has not been quantified in any hospital setting. Economic modeling of PACS by the University of Washington demonstrates that the cost savings of PACS is extremely sensitive to small productivity changes in referring physician time savings. To provide analytical strength to this argument and supportfor the overall importance of the referring physician in PACS economics, trip distribution data was collected at the University to determine the average time referring physicians spend traveling to andfrom the radiology departmentfile room. This travel time is significant and it corroborates other work by the authors suggesting the benefits of PACS may be, in fact, larger outside the radiology department than inside it. Information for this study was obtained from two sources. In one case, referring physicians were queried about the time they and their support staffspend requesting and retrievingfilmfilesfrom thefile room by using a comprehensive hospital-wide survey. In the second case, the distance between all major clinics in the University medical center and the number offilm files each clinic checks out weekly were entered into a conventional transportation trip distribution model toforecast the time staffspend on this activity. While some differences in the results occurredfrom the two cases, each case generally showed a significant expenditure of effort approaching approximately two-weeks per year per referring physician with a potential recovery value of between $3 to $8 million dollars annually in additional billable revenue, assuming adequate patient demand.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 August 1990
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 1234, Medical Imaging IV: PACS Systems Design and Evaluation, (1 August 1990); doi: 10.1117/12.19007
Show Author Affiliations
Allan O. Saarinen, Univ. of Washington (United States)
M. C. Wilson, Univ. of Washington (United States)
Scott C. Iverson, Univ. of Washington (United States)
David R. Haynor, Univ. of Washington (United States)
John W. Loop, Univ. of Washington (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1234:
Medical Imaging IV: PACS Systems Design and Evaluation
Samuel J. Dwyer III; R. Gilbert Jost M.D., Editor(s)

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