Bridging the EMR-PACS gap with something other than a full RIS (or your overworked technologists)

I went to a concert one time and the leader of the performing group was surrounded by three stacks of three piano keyboards each–that’s 9 keyboards!  He was leading the band, and simultaneously playing 9 keyboards.

It was very entertaining, but it also looked exhausting.

Think of the technologist’s workflow for a moment. Technologists are filling out forms, retyping patient information on the modality, logging supplies, jotting down measurements, physically scanning paperwork into the PACS, taking handwritten notes/commentary for the radiologist, operating the modality, while also correctly positioning and interacting with the patient.  

Well, it really doesn’t have to be that way.  It BECOMES that way when we ask the technologists to bridge the gap between two of healthcare’s most complex workflow systems—the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) and the Picture Archive and Communications System (PACS).

Why not give the technologists some help with a technologist-specific workflow module that helps automate their role? 

To be clear, I’m not talking about a full RIS, just a tech workflow module.  If you have an EMR-to-PACS setup, you might just find that a technologist-specific module is your much-needed missing link to greater productivity and faster turnaround times. 

Here are some key features of a technologist-specific add-on module that will simplify your workflow and make your processes more efficient.

Integrated DICOM SR

Want a quick way to reduce your Report TATs?  Make DICOM structured report data extremely quick to capture and easy to transmit.  With a tech-workflow module like medQ’s, DICOM SR data is automatically captured from the modality.   

Techs can then validate that data, and send that data straight to the radiologist’s worklist where the structured report can be dropped directly into the final report.  

No more writing key measurements on paper or in some hidden-away, easily-forgotten comment box—just to be dictated back into the system.

Digital Forms and Auto Scan to PACS

Instead of having to fill out questionnaires and consent forms by hand and then scan them in, why not have your technologists fill them out electronically in the their own module?  Instead of a needing to be handed a printout of the patient’s information, why not access that information directly from the technologist’s own module?  

With a tech-specific workflow, instead of having to walk important documents over to the radiologist, a tech can simply select the documents that they want to include with the exam images, and they will be automatically transferred to the PACS as part of the DICOM series.

Integrated Charge and Supply Capture

Billing is plenty complicated without accidentally missing charges and supply additions.  Most RIS will have a charge capture system in place.  A tech-specific workflow module like medQ’s will also features a robust, interactive supply capture system.  In addition to being able to record the standard supplies, the tech can also add procedure information in real-time with their accompanying CPT codes.

Technologist Exam Notes

Now that many members of radiology teams are working remotely, you can foster better communication between your techs and radiologists by allowing your techs to push exam notes and commentary directly to the radiologist worklists.  There is no need to send an email, hand deliver notes, or open a separate chat program.

Integrating Disparate Systems

As a general rule, EMRs and PACS are not well integrated and do not play nicely with one another, making for a disruptive and less efficient workflow.  If your technologists are having to manually fill out forms and retype everything into the modality, you are not only losing time but you are possibly making mistakes.  These complications only multiply if your site is working with multiple EMR systems.

The medQ Technologist Workflow acts as the universal connector between any number of EMRs and the PACS. The Tech Workflow Module will automatically receive info from the EMR and then automatically upload the patient file to the modality. This way, all data received by the PACS from the modality will tie in perfectly with the information in the EMR.

Recently, medQ helped an imaging center fill in their EMR-PACS gap with our Tech Workflow module. The increased efficiency gained by integrating the disparate systems generated $312,000 every year.

A Few Other Notable Benefits

Patient Prior Images – Most technologists have quick access to prior reports for a patient, but what about prior images?  In most setups, the tech would have to access the PACS, find the patient, open their file, and sift through the images.  With the medQ’s Tech Workflow module, techs can easily access the patient’s prior images in just a few clicks without leaving the module.

Integrated DICOM MWL – If you have an older modality that does not have a DICOM Modality Worklist, let the Tech Workflow pick up the slack with its own DICOM Modality Worklist.  As a bonus, this DICOM Modality Worklist waits to populate the modality until the patient has been fully checked in and prepped for the exam.  This way, any updates that may have occurred with the patient data since the original order was generated can be carried over to the modality.


A technologist-specific workflow module is the technologists’ automation tool kit.

Instead of having your technologist deal with all the facets of the EMR and the PACS, give them their own streamlined workflow module full of the automation and communication tools they need to increase your productivity and take your practice to the next level. 

Ready to see an automated tech-specific workflow in action?  Schedule a quick demo of medQ’s Tech Workflow module, part of the Q/ris 3000 Enterprise Imaging Workflow.

"For our radiology team, the Q/ris 3000 works as a unifier of our healthcare IT systems and eliminates several manual processes that our radiology techs and admins were required to perform. Manual data entry, manual management of CPT codes, manual distribution of final reports—all of those inefficiencies have been significantly reduced or eliminated.”