Table of Contents
Table of Contents
But with radiology information systems, radiologists can reassign all administrative tasks to the software. This allows for more efficient, cost-effective, and streamlined radiology operations.
Interested in what else can a radiology information system (RIS) do to improve your radiology workflows?
Read on to discover all about RIS, its role, key features, functions, integrations, benefits, and more. We’ll also let you in on how to choose the right RIS vendor and software solution for your practice.
What is Radiology Information System (RIS)?
A radiology information system is software that stores and manages medical image data.
RIS software can also handle administrative tasks like:
Managing patient registration and records
By integrating a dedicated system for all these mundane tasks, professionals can increase efficiency, improve collaboration and patient care, and minimize data errors.
What are the different types of radiology information systems?
There are several different types of RIS:
A standalone system handles all radiology-related operations of a single organization and cannot be connected to other healthcare systems.
This type of RIS is hosted on a cloud server, and the maintenance of the system is handled by a third-party provider.
This type of RIS is accessed through a web browser so anyone with an internet connection can log into the system.
These systems are developed to run on mobile devices, so users can access them from anywhere.
What is the Main Function of Radiology Information Systems (RIS)?
So, what exactly can a RIS do?
Typically, radiology information systems have a few core functions:
A RIS helps keep track of material supplies, making inventory checks much easier. This way, radiology professionals have a more accurate idea of their inventory needs, plan their budget better, and can reduce costs.
Radiology information systems keep patient history records and help with patient registrations, scheduling, and order tracking. This functionality eliminates the need for paper-based documentation, which usually leads to more errors and slows the process significantly.
The system records all patient billing information and can help issue electronic invoices. In turn, the risk of payment declines, or delays is minimized.
A RIS can generate digital reports that give valuable insights in a timely manner. These reports help managers identify any bottlenecks, trends, and other key findings that can help them optimize their workflows and performance.
Since radiology information systems deal with sensitive patient information, your software must have proper security functionalities (such as data encryption and automated backups). This ensures the system is compliant with all HIPAA regulations.
Why is RIS Necessary in Radiology Practice?
RIS software eliminates the need for paper-based documentation that slows down all workflows and results in more cost and productivity-related inefficiencies and errors.
As a centralized system, RIS ensures medical professionals can easily access the right data at the right time and make optimal decisions. It also ensures data accuracy across all workflows, increasing patient care quality and eliminating errors.
The Role of RIS in HIS
HIS is an umbrella term for all healthcare-related systems medical professionals use to manage patient data and healthcare workflows.
On the other hand, radiology information systems have a critical role in maintaining efficient radiology workflows.
By integrating with other HIS software, RIS can communicate vital radiology-related patient information to other healthcare departments and organizations. This makes them a valuable source of information within other healthcare information systems.
Benefits of Adopting a Radiology Information System (RIS)
Having a radiology information system in place can lead to numerous benefits, including:
A RIS helps you eliminate redundant tasks and improve coordination between staff members since everyone uses one centralized system. The software also allows for more transparency and a better overview of staff allocation so you can have a smoother and more streamlined workflow.
With a RIS in place, you can treat more patients, give more accurate diagnoses, and provide better care. By letting RIS handle all manual tasks, your staff can focus on what really matters – patient engagement and satisfaction.
RIS software usually has document templates that guide your staff in filling out the correct data in the right fields. This way, the likelihood of data entry errors reduces significantly, and you can prepare all information more efficiently.
A radiology information system helps your staff do more tasks in less time. This directly reduces your turnaround time and costs. Additionally, faster processing times, fewer missed appointments, and streamlined payment processes can lead to a substantial increase in revenue.
By collecting and storing large amounts of patient data, RIS software can also be used as a valuable data source. This data can be used in various research initiatives and help radiology scientists identify key trends, patterns, and areas of improvement in the field.
Key Features and Integrations
Selecting RIS software that will fit your specific needs and requirements can be tough.
A few things to consider in the process are what features and integrations you want the software to have. Also, you should ensure the solution has solid data security and protection built in place.
Some key features essential for RIS software are:
Patient scheduling and registration:
These features streamline the patient registration and scheduling process. That’s because the software makes it easy to collect all needed information regarding the patient, their insurance, and appointment details.
Order entry and management:
This RIS feature tracks the order status and history and helps assign staff members to different orders.
Image management and archiving:
This feature enables functionalities like obtaining the image, storing, retrieving, displaying, and archiving it. This reduces the need to retake medical images as doctors can quickly access them whenever needed.
Reporting and results distribution:
RIS software can also generate useful reports and analyses. This allows vital information to be shared efficiently between healthcare providers.
This feature allows the software to recognize speech, enabling doctors to dictate notes. This also improves some key radiology practice workflows like reporting.
Referring physician portal:
Such portals connect the referred patients, their provider, and the referring doctor. This enables the referring provider to easily refer their patients to another specialist.
Billing and reimbursement management:
Such features facilitate the collection of billing information, generating financial reports, and tracking claims and payments.
Quality control and improvement:
RIS can also track performance indicators, helping you identify key areas of improvement and implement workflow changes.
All these features working together make for a comprehensive radiology information system that can easily support all your processes.
Often RIS software needs to be integrated with other healthcare information systems to ensure data consistency and accuracy across all systems.
Here are a few key integrations that RIS software should have:
Electronic Health Records (EHRs):
Electronic health records store all vital patient information. Integrating the RIS with EHR ensures that all medical images are shared directly with the physician who ordered them.
A DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine) is a set of software and hardware used to take X-rays. It’s a standard protocol used internationally for image management and processing.
Health Level 7 is used to transfer clinical and administrative data between different healthcare software applications.
An enterprise master patient index (EMPI) Is a patient database that helps healthcare organizations store and share accurate patient information.
Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS):
PACS helps store, retrieve, and manage radiology images. Integrating RIS with PACS ensures streamlined access, routing, and archiving of images.
Billing and Reimbursement System:
To ensure billing and reimbursement claims are accurate, RIS can integrate with supportive billing systems. This also reduces errors and ensures bills are paid on time.
Quality Control and Improvement Systems:
This integration can help identify areas of improvement and track KPIs of all radiology-related processes.
When you integrate your RIS with a patient portal, patients can easily access their results, increasing patient engagement and satisfaction.
Security and Data Protection in RIS Software
Your RIS software must comply with all HIPAA regulations.
HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) is a law that protects sensitive patient data.
As HIPAA-compliant, your software should abide by all legal, security, and safety requirements and protect patient data from unauthorized access. To ensure you’re HIPAA-compliant at all times you should run regular security audits.
Choosing a RIS Software Vendor
Once you have identified all key functionalities and integrations you want your RIS to have, it’s time to choose a reliable RIS software provider. Here are a few considerations you should keep in mind when vetting different vendors:
Integration with other healthcare systems:
Ensure the RIS vendor offers all HIS integrations you will need.
Customizability and scalability:
Does your radiology practice have any specific needs that would require integrating some custom features? Or will your needs change in the near future? These are important considerations to have in mind and communicate with your RIS vendor before you decide on specific software.
Vendor support and customer service:
Good support and customer service are crucial for the successful implementation of RIS. Do your due diligence and ensure the vendor will be with you every step of the implementation process.
Costs and return on investment:
Take into consideration the cost of the software, its implementation, training, and maintenance, and calculate your ROI.
Popular RIS Vendors
Here are some popular off-the-shelf RIS software solutions:
This Windows-based radiology information system assists with patient scheduling, clinical results distribution, report sharing, and more.
It also has functionalities like image comparison, image 3D manipulation, and an online portal where doctors can share important information with patients.
Besides, the software has a web image viewer, so it can be accessed on both desktop and other devices, making it an accessible system for radiology departments, clinics, and imaging centers of all sizes.
Customizable electronic forms
Report managing and distribution
Mobile diagnostic viewing
- Good customer support
- Automatic distribution of reports
- Automatic sync with financial systems and PACS
- Full integration with EMRs
- Self-scheduling for patients
What users have to say
This software combines scheduling, reporting, and billing all in one place. It’s perfect for radiology practices of small to medium sizes.
The software is easy to use and has great tech support. However, integration with other PACS is more complex. While some reports are not as detailed, they can be easily modified with the custom development features.
Patient flow tracking and management
Referring physician portal
Records and tracks biopsy results to generate statistical reports
Clinical decision support option
- Easy scheduling
- Billing and coding support
- Good customer support and training
- Prior authorization option
- Customizable features
What users have to say
This standalone SQL-based RIS software is HL7, DICOM, and IHE compatible. It can easily integrate with PACS and helps track patient information, medical images, and results.
It’s a good option for smaller practices and has an intuitive and easy-to-navigate interface.
Radiologist task management
- Good customer support
- Easy to navigate
- Developed by radiologists for radiologists
- Integrates with various EMRs and PACS
What users have to say
Finding the perfect off-the-shelf software solution can be tough as radiology practices differ in their workflows, needs, and requirements. That’s why opting for a custom RIS might be a better option. This allows you to harvest all the benefits without dealing with any of the obstacles of commercial software.
You get to shape the RIS software the way you want it to be. You just have to let the developers know what you need, and they’ll take care of the rest. It’s that easy!
At Scopic, we have 15+ years of experience developing custom RIS and other software solutions for the healthcare industry. So, we know all your pain points, and we’re ready to create flexible, state-of-the-art software that serves your unique needs.
Our Software Expertise in Radiology
Scopic is an experienced software service provider in the radiology industry. So, we have all the skills and expertise to create a customized solution that will serve your specific radiology needs and help you create more efficient workflows.
Here are some of the radiology-related projects we worked on in the past:
We created the Mediphany software to help patients understand their X-ray results. Mediphany provides personalized video reports that incorporate 3D models and different comparisons.
This app helps radiologists archive, view, and edit DICOM images from any web-enabled device. This simplifies the whole image retrieval process and optimize the workflows of radiology departments, hospitals, and clinics.
This medical image sharing application helps veterinary practitioners store, review, and share client files with ease. The solution has a user-friendly interface and enables vets to collaborate on medical images, streamlining their workflows.
Scopic helped Teleray to build the AutoRay+ app. The app helps professionals share medical images and reports with ease.
Ready to build your customized RIS software?
Radiology Information Systems FAQ
Still have questions about RIS? Here are some frequently asked questions and their answers:
What is the difference between RIS and PACS?
RIS is used mainly to manage radiology workflows and streamline all related administrative tasks. On the other hand, PACS is more focused on the clinical side of radiology as it is used mainly for storing and sharing medical images (like X-rays and MRIs).
RIS can be integrated with other HIS systems to exchange patient data. PACS is usually integrated with RIS as it provides all imaging details to RIS.
RIS is primarily used by radiologists and administrative staff while PACS is used by radiologists and other healthcare professionals responsible for the medical image interpretation.
With that said, RIS and PACS are often used together, and some RIS software solutions even have built-in PACS features for more convenience.
How can a RIS system help improve patient care and outcomes?
- Streamlines radiology workflows, which leads to more efficient processes and higher patient satisfaction.
- Improves data accuracy, eliminating errors and improving patient care quality.
- Provides insightful data that can be used to identify key areas of improvement. Such data can also be used for research purposes that can lead to advancements in the radiology field.
What are some potential challenges in implementing a RIS system, and how can they be overcome?
While RIS software has many benefits, it can also pose a few challenges.
One such challenge is introducing a RIS system to your already established workflows.
The result? More time spent on training and integrating the system within your radiology department or diagnostic imaging center.
To overcome this challenge, you can ensure your vendor provides excellent customer support and will assist you every step of the way to make the transition as smooth and quick as possible.
Another potential challenge is integrating the RIS with other healthcare information systems. To avoid any complications, you need to plan carefully so all data is shared in an accurate and efficient way.
What are some best practices for training and support when implementing a RIS system?
Some best training and support practices include:
- Account for role-based training: As different staff members have different roles, they might need training tailored to their specific needs.
- Organize hands-on training sessions: The best way to learn is by doing. So, make sure to organize a few practical training sessions where staff members can work directly with the system, explore its features, and get assistance if they run into a problem.
- Create a knowledge base: Once everyone is familiar with the software basics, it’s important to assemble a knowledge base that has all the needed guidelines. Things like step-by-step video walkthroughs, written FAQ sections, and other resources can be quite useful. This can help you minimize the time spent on explaining the same functionalities over and over again to different people.
- Ensure ongoing support: Last but not least – when nothing else helps, and you need urgent help, it’s important to be able to use a dedicated customer support channel. This way, you can rest assured you will get assistance when you bump into an unexpected problem.
What are some common mistakes to avoid when selecting and implementing a RIS system?
- Choosing a system that doesn’t fit your needs: Different systems have different functionalities. Make sure to choose a RIS that will serve your specific needs.
- Not involving key stakeholders in the decision: The RIS software will be used by managers, nurses, radiologists, administrators, and other stakeholders. This means they need to be informed and involved as much as possible in the decision-making process.
- Not testing the system before implementation: Make sure to test the system to get an idea of its functionalities and interface. Testing also ensures there are no bugs or issues.
- Not planning system integration: RIS software is usually integrated with other systems like EHRs and PACS. Planning the integration ensures you don’t run into any data inefficiencies.
- Not providing staff training and support: Having adequate staff training and ongoing support is crucial for efficiently implementing the system.
About Creating This Guide on Radiology Information Systems (RIS)
Scopic provides quality and informative content, powered by our deep-rooted expertise in software development. Our team of content writers and experts have great knowledge in the latest software technologies, allowing them to break down even the most complex topics in the field. They also know how to tackle topics from a wide range of industries, capture their essence, and deliver valuable content across all digital platforms.