McKesson announced that Good Samaritan Hospital of Kearney, Neb., a member of Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), has successfully completed a fast-track implementation of the Horizon Medical Imaging picture archiving and communications system (PACS). The rapid migration has led to increased clinical efficiency as a result of workflow improvements. In addition, the number of calls to the hospital’s 24-hour support line has decreased from a daily average of 25 to just three.
McKesson’s PACS was selected to replace another vendor’s PACS system. The new system will work with the hospital’s current radiology information system to bring together images from multiple modalities with clinical patient data. This implementation was the first step in CHI’s national initiative to convert from an existing PACS to the McKesson solution by 2011. The hospital also went live with McKesson’s cardiovascular information system.
Good Samaritan, a 287-bed regional referral center, is located in rural central Nebraska and provides care to more than 350,000 residents of central Nebraska and southeastern Kansas. The hospital’s physicians also reach out to 34 smaller remote hospitals, providing on-site care as needed. Due to the upgrades needed for its current PACS, the hospital decided that the fiscally responsible choice was to install McKesson’s solution.
“We’re the only level II trauma center in our area, so we couldn’t afford to stumble over technology issues during the transition,” explained Tim Fowlkes, PACS administrator, Good Samaritan Hospital. “The new solution had to offer the advanced tools to meet our imaging needs across two states, and meet them quickly and seamlessly.”
To help ensure a smooth transition to the new system, McKesson team members met regularly with hospital representatives and members of CHI’s management information systems department, enabling migration in just five months. Fowlkes also credits McKesson’s “train-the-trainer” approach, which employs “super users” of the technology to provide peer support, for preparing radiologists and staff for the change. “Implementation was flawless—from design to training to launch,” said Fowlkes.
Clinician adoption of the new PACS also has been extremely strong. “Now, we hear comments like, ‘I love this system!’ and we have buy-in on our IT strategy like never before,” Fowlkes said. “Physicians and staff have embraced the McKesson system because it does what they want it to do, it’s easy to use and, most importantly, it enables them to deliver better patient care.”
Previously, users had difficulty creating hanging protocols that worked properly without the need for physicians to repeatedly re-create them. With the McKesson PACS, radiologists create personalized display protocols that map to their specific workflow needs. The new technology also allows Good Samaritan’s radiology department to achieve better integration with its other third-party software systems.
Improved cross-departmental communications is yet another benefit. “The McKesson PACS has brought together departments that were previously siloed,” Fowlkes said. “Now, our departments function like a family—a team that works together toward the success of everyone involved.”