- Mercy Technology Services, the IT arm of the St. Louis-based Catholic health system, debuted a new cloud-based picture archiving communication system (PACS) that will be made available for hospitals nationwide.
- The PACS — which includes a best-of-breed enterprise viewer, vendor neutral archive, workflow orchestrator, speech recognition and reporting in a software-as-a-service model — is targeted at small and mid-size hospitals looking to capitalize on efficiencies and cost savings the cloud can offer, according to MTS.
- Mercy, with 40 hospitals across four states, consolidated nine legacy PACS into a single, integrated system that it says improved radiologists' efficiency and cut report turnaround time by up to 50%.
More hospitals are looking to the cloud to facilitate their digital transformation. Having cloud-based EHRs, data analytics and other capabilities allows them to build out infrastructure without major capital expenditures and a large IT support staff.
While the jury is still out on the long-term viability and financial promise cloud technology has for providers, use cases show promising anecdotal success.
Cloud platforms can also enable providers to leverage patient information from multiple care points, and make it easier to recover data in the event of a cyberattack or natural disaster. They are already seeing use in areas like telemedicine, population health and patient engagement and are increasingly viewed as being as secure — if not more so — than on-site networks and data banks.
Mercy has long been a leader in health IT and repeatedly been named one of H&HN's Health Care's Most Wired hospitals and health systems. The new PACS will allow hospitals to replace disparate and outdated systems that require radiologists to switch back and forth between work stations, which can delay diagnosis and hurt patient care, MTS said.
"We were bogged down before," Steve Bollin, vice president of radiology support services at Mercy, said in a statement. "Now, having everything together and instantly viewable with the click of a button — all prior studies, all modalities — means radiologists aren't waiting and neither are patients."