Thursday, February 23, 2006

ITL, Again...

ITL yanked their system, and I thought we were done with them. But alas, they have returned, and the "new and improved" version has been installed. Here is the description from one of my partners:

The system is counter-intuitive, has no cross reference tool on spine MR, and wastes screen space. The imaging tools are difficult to use, and multiple functions require using the "center" mouse button, which actually is the wheel. This is fraught with peril. The cursor travels to the imaging screen by moving down (?!?) off of the menu screen. The hanging protocol must be reset for every study. It has slowed me down so far. The touch screen remains, positioned horizontally, and is completely useless and ignored. Its only purpose is to NOT allow you to move closer to the screen without accidentally touching it and opeing a "toolbox" or switching to the next study.

As I told multiple people at (the site) yesterday, Pacs systems have evolved so that they all are fairly similar in interface. The important term is "evolved," meaning that natural selection has emphasized those traits which are most useful and eliminated the ridiculous and counterproductive. Any system that attempts to dramatically alter the interface (as ITL does) between radiologist and study is attempting to reinvent the wheel. And, as again in the case of ITL, square wheels don't roll real good.

Some improvement. ITL just doesn't grasp how the vast majority of radiologists in the world do their job. I would say that this is a case of engineering/IT types forcing what they perceive to be a "better way" upon us, but how they can think this horrendous approach is "better" is beyond me as a former engineer myself. Some of my people have spent hours with their engineers trying to make them follow our workflow. You've heard the old saying about a camel being a horse designed by committee. Well, this piece of junk is a PACS system designed with total disregard to patients AND radiologists. I'd rather have a camel.

The manager of the imaging center begged me to OK the use of this dog because he's bleeding out cash to pay for film. I gave him a lot of grief, asking why he keeps pursuing this dead-end after all my exhortations. He claims that one of the rads who will use it over at the imaging center gave a provisional OK, and the rest "didn't care." I suspect the one fellow who "approved" did so mainly because eliminating the touch screen meant that he didn't have to keep moving his head up and down, a real problem for him since he just had cervical spine surgery. This was taken as tacit approval from the entire group. As an aside, this points out how important personal communication can be, both within and external to your group. One of my guys gave a vaguely positive grunt, and so that is interpreted as being a huge vote of confidence by the entire group. Great.

I have told my people to use it ONLY if it improves their ability to read studies, and does not prove a hinderance. My personal feeling is to make the center choke on this purchase, give the history, but I'll try not to be too vindictive. We shall see how it goes.

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