Cardiology presents special challenges when compared to other
diagnostic departments. In many hospitals cardiology modalities are
located in different departments, and some diagnostic modalities are
dual-use, presenting the challenge of supporting both radiology
RIS/PACS and a cardiology information system (CIS). The breadth of
modalites and variety of data, from arrhythmia analysis to pressures to
images -- many with their own mini information systems and archives --
adds considerable complexity.
Unlike most radiologists who are employed by and work within a
traditional healthcare, cardiologists primarily have practices outside
of a hospital and are on the move between two, three or four different
healthcare facilities and their own main offices. That situation can
create two problems: A patient's test and imaging results are scattered
throughout a facility among the different cardiac subspecialties, such
as nuclear medicine, echocardiography and electrocardiography; and,
because the cardiologist is not at the facility full-time, he or she
may not have the influence to affect a change in that process.
Fewer than 15% of U.S. hospitals have adopted cardiology information
systems, and significant market growth is expected in the next 5 years.
This situation has already started some consolidation in the market.
For a look at the future of cardiology, see Health Imaging's article, Sneak Peek: Cardiology Department 2010.