You may recall from a very early post that I had originally planned no RIS for our Amicas PACS. We were going to use paper and PACSGear scanning software to simulate a RIS, if you will. However, we ultimately decided that this would be rather tedious, and would not allow us to do some of the things we have grown accustomed to doing, such as editing reports. So, we went in search of a RIS. We didn't need a big bad hospital system, but we did need something. Basically, there were two requirements: the RIS had to be very easy to use, and it had to be reasonably priced. We found the the ideal combination for our purposes in Empiric's Encompass.NET product. Functionally, it is straight-forward, and easy to use, and most importantly, it doesn't get in my way. That's why I call it the "Amicas of RIS's". Amicas probably doesn't like that title, because they have their own RIS. We looked at it, and it is a great product, but it was more powerful and more expensive than we really needed for our little operation.
Now, I don't want to leave you with the impression that Encompass is underpowered, because it isn't. It is streamlined, and its interface is rather spartan. (More on that in a moment.) It does, however, have everything we needed. From the Empiric web site:
Primary RIS Functions:
Patient registration and scheduling
Embedded digital dictation
Electronic report signatures
Auto faxing (direct or by eFax.com)
Paper-less consent forms
Radiologist peer review functions
Film library management
Additional staff and equipment management tools
Web viewer w/auto study retrieval
Image routing & archive management
Referring Physician Functions:
On-line study requests
On-line report access
On-line image access
Optional integrated EMR
Complete Billing Functions:
Credit card co pay capture
On-line eligibility verification
Obviously, there is a lot to this system. We have it integrated nicely to our Amicas PACS, and the two play nicely together. Encompass does have its own viewer available, and it isn't bad, but we are much happier overall with the combination.
The best part of the RIS, as with Amicas PACS, is that it doesn't get in our way. It can provide reports viewable from within PACS, which the clinicians love (and so do we). We are really thrilled with the simplicity of reviewing and signing off of reports. We log in to the system (from anywhere, as this is a .NET web-accessed program), hit the "batch sign" button, and all of our pending reports are displayed. There is the option to edit them if necessary, which is a rare need given our incredible transcriptionists, and then they can all be signed with ONE CLICK! We use Cerner at our Agfa hospital, and Meditech at the other places we cover, and the concept of "ease of use" has obviously never been heard by their developers. But it is the backbone of Encompass.
Now, I mentioned the somewhat spartan nature of the Encompass.NET interface, and indeed, it isn't particularly fancy. But I do have the honor of announcing their next interface, with screenshot below, which will make its official debut at SIIM next month. Empiric hired a "prominent West Coast GUI design firm that specializes in ergonomics" to revamp the front end. Notice the "at a glance" concept that will instantly show the user the status of each patient and exam. It's prettier than the functional design they have today (screenshots of which can be seen at their website.)
If you are in the market for a RIS, and you aren't trying to outfit the entire Mayo Clinic, have a look at Encompass. My partners and I like it, and we're rather hard to please.....