PACS Migration Service – NIPACS Case Study
MDI has comprehensive knowledge and experience on a wide variety of PACS Systems.
Often PACS vendors can move their own data from one system to a new generation of their solutions. However, changing vendors is often a daunting task which exposes both the owner of a legacy PACS and the new vendor to uncomfortable risks in assuring data quality and solving unanticipated problems as they are encountered in any PACS Data Migration project.
A PACS Migration needs to address a variety of complicating factors and the process needs to be managed effectively.
For example, some considerations are as follows:
- The growth in the use of CT produces many images. Each represents a slice of the body. Care and attention to detail are required to move each of these studies in a complete manner.
- Patient identification is complex. There are a variety of techniques to register and identify a patient for their hospital visit; hospital work flow considerations such as patient verification and how this is carried out at a particular modality, or by means of a RIS work list. There are unintended fail points that trigger errors in how captured images are associated with patient details required by other information systems.
- Each PACS system has its own routine to verify a study, i.e., accept it into its database.
- Older source PACS hardware is prone to failure. Care must be taken even with how often any given disk in a source PACS’ archive can be read.
- A migration often brings a study into a PACS’ cache prior to moving it, so a balance must be struck if the legacy PACS is still required to be available.
- Demand on network infrastructure varies throughout the day, so study retrieval coordination must be done with consideration given to time of day and volume.
Migration projects that are well planned can take a few weeks to several months. Those that are several months in duration often benefit from an ability to prioritize migrations with scheduling systems, to get prior studies moved to support the radiologist seeking prior studies for comparison. This involves listening to the RIS systems through HL7 messaging to prioritize the move of prior studies, to service a currently scheduled patient.
MDI has the expertise to assist Radiology and Diagnostic Imaging centers to seamlessly transition to a new PACS system by providing cost-effective, real-time access to legacy images. MDI has successfully migrated data from a variety of DICOM compliant systems including:
The following themes and questions should be reviewed when considering a PACS migration:
PACS Migration planning tips:
- What are the sources of PACS data: e.g. – archive(s), directory of image files, off‐line media and cache?
- How many source locations are there?
- How many exams do you need to move?
- What is the estimated volume of data that you need to move in Terabytes? (Please note that applying archive compression in a uniform manner doesn’t account for variations in compression.)
- Does the destination PACS already contain any exams that are also on the source? (For example, this could happen after the destination PACS has gone live and it has queried the source PACS for the study and moves it as part of a pre-fetch activity.)
- Do you need to change any of the data?
- Do you need the migrated data to be verified by a RIS or other checks?
- Do you need to fetch prior studies during the migration? (May be required if you have a large migration project that is likely to take more than 6 months to complete.)
- Where are the upcoming patients or exams defined? (e.g. ‐ modality work list server)
- Do you have a particular schedule that dictates when and how fast you can migrate studies? (Consider network bandwidth. Also, it is often faster to pull studies from a source PACS rather than have them moved to a target destination and have the study verified on the RIS)
- Do you need to run slower during the daytime working hours?
- Are the source and destination archives fully DICOM compatible?
- Can Query Retrieves be issued to the source PACS and the destination PACS and do they each have a DICOM Q/R interface?
- Are there any proprietary tags, annotations or mark ups? (Please note, often these are not DICOM compliant and are not transferable to the destination PACS)