Small Hospital Lives Large with Advanced EXAM-PACS Technology
25-bed hospital delivers advanced digital diagnosis in rural setting.
With just 25 beds and seven attending physicians, tiny Ellenville Regional Hospital lives large in its upper New York state rural community, combining cutting-edge procedures and technologies for high-quality medical care. Local residents look to the independent critical access hospital for services ranging from radiology and emergency care, to physical therapy and cardiology as well as to provide a gateway to larger, specialized facilities.
Today, following a financial reorganization and a three-year transformation, Ellenville is proving size and location need not define a medical facility. Under the capable stewardship of CEO Steven Kelley, the hospital is undergoing a significant upgrade enterprise wide. In radiology, Ellenville has installed a multislice CT, CR, DR, and most recently an advanced Web-based PACS to help provide high-quality diagnoses and ensure that the radiology department runs smoothly.
“Patients should be able to obtain a fast, precise diagnosis in their own community,” said Kelley. “While most hospitals our size do not have any digital imaging capabilities at all, we were committed to finding a way for our patients to enjoy the significant benefits of digital technology, and we’re already seeing the positive results.”
How did Kelley and his team achieve all this? By learning about the potential of PACS and developing a clear idea of what they wished to accomplish with it, by looking carefully at ways to provide financial justification for the project and by connecting with the right vendor.
“CoActiv gave us advanced technology that met all our goals,” commented Kelley. Ellenville had no budget allocated for a digital radiology transition. But, the PACS will pay for itself in a short time with the savings realized over film-based operations and will provide enough extra capital to fund the DR and CR.
Naturally, through the PACS purchase, the hospital wanted to eliminate the administrative entanglements and expense of film operations. When it came to features, it wanted ease of use and a range of advanced functionality. Also, the strong and flexible offsite Web-based communication was key in enabling reading by a quality remote radiology group.
Michel Bonnin, director of Radiology, explained, “We do not have radiologists onsite full-time, but wanted to deliver specialized diagnostic services with a two-hour turnaround. Just prior to looking for a PACS, we had selected Millennium Medical Imaging, a well-known Albany, NY-area radiology group, to read films for Ellenville. To utilize the group who are spread out in numerous offices, we needed a technologically advanced PACS capable of supporting fast, accurate multi-site communication.”
After conducting a thorough search of the marketplace, the hospital decided on CoActiv EXAM-PACS, which had impressed the search team during a site visit to a metro area hospital. “It was just so easy to use,” said Kelley. “When we learned that its volume-based pricing also would make it affordable for a small hospital, we were sold.”
EXAM-PACS is the first PACS that is both technologically and financially scalable.
In particular, EXAM-PACS was selected for its robust features, among them built-in 3-D processing with EXAM-3D, ultra-secure Quad-Redundant Archiving, which saves four copies of every study, and CoActiv’s 100 percent uptime service level agreement (SLA), ensuring that images will be always accessible when needed.
In part, EXAM-PACS also was chosen for its open Web-based architecture and worklist functionality that would easily enable transmitting images to Millennium. They also felt the PACS offered the features needed to support a hospital, not only an imaging center, and could scale well for a small facility.
Now seamlessly on board for image reading, Millennium radiologists are enthusiastic about the PACS. “After trying it, our radiologists were ecstatic,” said Kelley. “They have worked on numerous systems but really raved about this one.”
Noted Tariq Gill, M.D., president of Millennium Medical Imaging: “EXAM-PACS is an advanced system that delivers broad functionality and highly effective communications tools. Our radiologists have worked on many systems and are really happy with CoActiv.”
At Ellenville, radiology lives large, thanks to CoActiv — but without paying a high price.
This article was originally featured in Outpatient Care Technology, August/September 2006.