Nurse looking at medical imagery on a computer screen.

Radiology Information Systems & Picture Archiving & Communications System (RIS-PACS)

RIS-PACS is NSW Health’s medical imaging system. It provides clinicians with access to complete imaging histories, comparison images and reports.

RIS-PACS stores key information, digital images and results, for instant access by public hospital-based treating teams across the state.  In simple terms, it means a patient’s medical imaging history can be tracked from image request (e.g. x-ray, CT scan etc) through to diagnosis no matter where they are treated across NSW Health.

Medical records displayed on a computer screen.

The Challenge

Millions of medical images and reports are created, captured and stored at NSW public hospitals every year. This information needed to be stored safely and be readily accessible for clinicians statewide.

Multiple different and ageing systems made accessing a patient’s complete imaging history, comparison images or reports difficult. NSW Health required a single centralised solution to streamline and future-proof medical imaging services across NSW.

Medical records displayed on a computer screen.

The Plan

eHealth NSW partnered with local health districts, specialty health networks and an external vendor to deliver a consolidated, safe and secure medical imaging solution. The project integrated different imaging, archive and IT systems into one robust statewide platform.

RIS-PACS was designed to integrate with existing databases across the NSW Health network (including LHDs, specialty health networks and pillars, and the NSW Hospital network) to provide a single source of truth for imaging information. It also integrates with other core clinical systems, including the electronic medical record (EMR), patient administration system (PAS) and enterprise imaging repository (EIR).

LHD leaders and clinicians provided extensive input into the solution design and were involved from conception to implementation.

Each hospital and health service onboarded has an individual imaging workflow management process which feeds into the central archive. This allows them to configure the system to better meet their workflow requirements.

The solution can also scale with increasing demand and include additional imaging services (beyond medical imaging departments) as technology changes.

We’re very appreciative of the thorough governance structures that have enabled two high risk projects, being the changeover of an ageing RIS-PACS system and going live in the midst of COVID. The project team, in conjunction with the vendor, have developed remote support contingencies using remote access, portable IT hardware and comprehensive pre-training.
Paul Green, District Medical Imaging Manager, Northern NSW LHD
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Doctor analysing medical records via a computer monitor.

The Outcome

RIS-PACS represents one of the most significant digital changes to NSW Health infrastructure to date. It’s now live across 31 sites, encompassing six Local Health Districts: Mid North Coast and Northern NSW, Western Sydney and Nepean Blue Mountains, Northern Sydney and Central Coast.

It provides a patient-centred approach to imaging storage and access. Each patient is linked to a single secure statewide record, making it quick and easy to access their diagnostic reports and images.

In addition to building the imaging database for new scans, more than one billion archived images were transferred into the system, providing greater access and better data storage, security and reliability.

Standardised radiology practices were also created across NSW Health and health professionals are expecting to see further improvements to administrative processes and clinical workflows.

Future roll outs include a further four LHDs, the Sydney Children’s Hospital Network and Forensic and Analytical Science Services. Additional LHDs have also expressed interest in the solution.

Medical records displayed on a computer screen.

The Benefits

  • Improved diagnostic processes with rapid, direct access to patient records for clinicians, including via mobile devices
  • Patients can access medical images via a secure online portal, reducing the need to carry actual images and reports to medical appointments
  • Increased clinical information sharing across services and locations
  • Reduction in need for repeat testing after medical transfers
  • Improved security of patient information by storing images on a secure and fully auditable system
  • Integration with other NSW Health systems to provide clinicians with a complete picture of the patient’s health status
  • Vendor-neutral archiving, meaning different types of images can be stored and readily retrieved no matter what format they are in or which system they came from originally.

Key Stats
2023
completion due
1 billion
existing images migrated
30
sites live
6
LHDs onboard

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