Canterbury District Health Board

The Value of a Highly-Efficient, PACS-Driven Workflow

A large teaching hospital in New Zealand, the Canterbury District Health Board have been leveraging a PACS-driven workflow for the past 10 years, turning their radiologists’ viewer into their primary workspace to drive both quality and productivity.

About Canterbury District Health Board

Based in Christchurch, New Zealand, Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) is the country’s second-largest health board, serving a population of 450,000 across a large geographical area. The largest employer in New Zealand’s South Island, CDHB boasts 9,000 staff across 14 hospitals and numerous community bases. In addition to covering all subspecialties, each year CDHB interprets approximately 365,000 medical images.

Robust, Reliable PACS Ensures a Smooth Patient Experience

A highly patient-centric organization, Canterbury DHB has long been committed to ensuring the effective coordination and delivery of public healthcare services to the district’s residents. The group strives diligently to remove bottlenecks from what is often referred to as “the patient’s journey”. Within radiology, the team works continuously to ensure that the imaging and reporting process is effective, efficient, and high-quality. For that reason, CDHB uses Intelerad’s medical imaging platform, IntelePACS®, to ensure seamless archiving, distribution, and secure sharing of images and reports.

The flexibility of IntelePACS has allowed CDHB to take a regional approach to PACS on New Zealand’s south island. Today, all but one location with the health board use a single iteration of Intelerad’s platform, which allows for rapid access to all patient priors, regardless of where the patient’s scan took place. This includes private radiology practices in the area, who share a DICOM index with CDHB.

“If you’re interested in optimizing the radiologist’s experience and are interested in efficiency gains and quality improvements, then a PACS driven workflow is superior.”

Dr. Adrian BalasingamConsultant Radiologist, Canterbury District Health Board

Leveraging a Highly-Efficient PACS-Driven Workflow

Despite RIS-driven workflows being quite popular across the southern hemisphere, CDHB has been leveraging a PACS-driven workflow since 2007, when it decided to integrate voice recognition into its workflow. Once in place, the team at CDHB realized the vast benefits that a PACS-driven workflow afforded them.

From a workflow perspective, Intelerad’s worklist facilitates case distribution while enabling radiologists to filter quickly and easily interact with previous reports and images—something that was more cumbersome in the past. In addition, CDHB’s radiologists have realized efficiency gains that come from placing everything a radiologist needs—from modality toolsets to peer review to tools for communication with technologists and other radiologists—in a single interface.

“When our site switched to electronic entry, we realized that the PACS and the PACS worklist
was becoming the radiologist’s epicenter,” said Dr. Sharyn Macdonald, Clinical Head, CDHB.
“Today, InteleViewer is our radiologist’s primary workspace, and will become even more so as
we continue adding modules to the viewer.”

Improving Patient Safety

In addition to an improved workflow, using Intelerad’s worklist has also helped improve patient safety at CDHB. In an academic environment, where radiologists’ workflows are interrupted in order to consult with colleagues or residents, IntelePACS’ lock-step integration with Nuance’s PowerScribe 360 allows for either application to decide what is displayed and available onscreen. This allows for unlimited exam context switches without losing the current dictation or place in study.

“The Intelerad workflow allows me to easily switch between patients to manage in my care or readily address clinicians inquiries,” said Dr. Macdonald. “It’s saving us time and it’s making the system much safer.”

Radiologists Positive About a PACS-Driven Workflow

At CDHB, the feedback from radiologists in regards to the workflow changes has been very positive, in particular around resident review process and working remotely. According to CDHB radiologist Dr. Adrian Balasingam, “If you’re interested in optimizing the radiologists’ experience and are interested in efficiency gains and quality improvements, then a PACS-driven workflow is superior.”

In addition, CDHB’s radiologists are quite fond of spending their day working within Intelerad’s diagnostic platform, InteleViewer.

“It’s been the best viewer on the market for more than a decade coming up on two decades,” said Dr. Balasingam. “If you were to suggest that you’re going to take the InteleViewer experience away from our radiologists and referring physicians, there would be protests.”

Intelerad Reporting Templates Drive Productivity

With the PACS-driven workflow in place, CDHB have been able to benefit from Intelerad’s integrated modules. One of these solutions is Intelerad Digital Worksheets, a solution powered by Kailo Medical that is designed to increase the accuracy and turnaround time of ultrasound reports.

The solution itself is a feature-rich, all-encompassing electronic worksheet and structured reporting package that provides the ability to review and markup ultrasound images using a touch-screen drawing surface. In addition, the solution automates the flow of clinical information from image acquisition to final report, which eliminates the need for paper with digital worksheet data.

For CDHB, who read about 15,000 ultrasounds per year, Intelerad’s Digital Worksheets enable radiologists to create high quality reports faster than they had previously.

“Intelerad’s Digital Worksheets are very functional and provide significant advantages,” said Dr. Balasingam. “They have demonstrated clear benefits for report quality and turnaround time for radiologists, and dictation times have nearly halved.”

Automatic Registration Tools Boost Workflows

Over the past year, CDHB has also been using automatic registration tools from Blackford Analysis. Integrated seamlessly into InteleViewer, the solution automatically registers current exams with relevant priors, which allows radiologists to track points of interest across multiple exams and modalities.

The solution has been a very useful addition to CDHB’s workflow, as it’s a large teaching hospital with lots of oncology imaging in comparison to priors. As Dr. Macdonald stated, “It’s been excellent in respect to making it more efficient to compare to priors.”

According to Dr. Balasingam, its integration with IntelePACS is so seamless, that you don’t even notice that it’s there.

“With the integration, it just happens by magic on the back end and you’re left with being able to compare it instantly across multiple studies,” said Dr. Balasingam. “It’s become part of our normal workflow, so it’s a necessary part of how we work now and from a cross registration point of view there are efficiency gains.”