Functions of RIS software

Understanding the Importance of the RIS in Radiology

The purpose of the RIS

The RIS or radiology information system was developed to eliminate the inefficiencies of paper-based systems that impact patient care. The goal of the RIS is to ensure that the right patient data is accessible to medical professionals at the right time for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. The RIS leverages automation to decrease task turnaround times and thereby improve response times for patient care.

What is a RIS?

The RIS is a data management software that enables radiology departments and imaging practices to organize, track, and distribute patient images and reports systematically. It performs various functions at different stages in the imaging workflow and is used in conjunction with a PACS (Picture Archiving and Communications System) that stores patient images.

Common functions of the RIS:

-Receive patient exam requests from referring physicians
-Exam order creation
-Schedule patient appointments
-Create the modality worklist
-Pull patient images from the PACS for diagnostic reporting
-Report creation
-Image and report distribution
-Exam charge information sent to the billing system

Added functions to the RIS:

-Automate appointment reminders to patients
-Digital forms for patient intake
-Insurance verification and authorizations
-Dictation tools for reporting
-Reports sent to patients via secure messaging

How do the RIS and PACS work together?

The relation between the RIS and PACS is synonymous with the brain and the heart in the human body. The RIS is responsible for the smooth functioning of the entire imaging workflow from the moment a physician requests an exam right until the patient is billed. The PACS stores patient images and supplies them to the RIS for diagnostic reporting.

In the early days, RIS and PACS systems had to be interfaced in order to work together. Over the years, a more advantageous single database RIS/PACS has been developed by some companies.

Advantages of a single database RIS/PACS over disparate RIS and PACS

Reduces data duplication and errors
It’s not uncommon for exam orders to be revised to maintain the most updated information in the RIS. When an order is generated, a modality worklist is sent out to the modality which eliminates any data issues/errors into the modality that would result from a manual data entry. These changes aren’t automatically applied in a PACS that’s separate from the RIS. A single database RISPACS eliminates this problem and thereby weeds out data redundancy and errors that impact patient care.

Cost-saving with a single solution
A single database RISPACS only requires one server. This means that you only pay for one system, avoiding costly and troublesome interfaces for communication between separate systems. It enables a seamless workflow that saves time and aggravation of troubleshooting two systems, which translates to cost savings.

Ease of use increases staff productivity
Another advantage is that a single database system is easy to use and a lot more efficient. Eliminating the unnecessary back and forth of working on two systems means more time for medical staff to focus on what’s most important— patient care.

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