Top 10 Things To Do When The PACS Goes Down
In the year 2017, almost every radiology residency in the country operates with a Picture Archiving And Communication System (PACS). It has become essential for the daily functioning of the radiologist and the radiology resident. Even though PACS have made our practices more efficient over time, we all experience a breakdown of some sort or another over time. Maybe its information overload, an electrical surge, or an internet/cloud outage that causes the problem. Regardless, it will happen at one time or another. Sometimes, it may take a few minutes or hours for the system to come back up. During this time, people usually mull about and complain about the PACS being down. It becomes a handicap. Instead, what if we actually did something useful with our time? So, I thought I would write an article about the top 10 most useful things to do when the PACS goes down. Let’s begin!
1. Call Up IT
Over the years, I have noticed when the PACS goes down: everyone assumes that someone knows about it and is taking care of it. Sometimes that is the case. Other times, no! It never hurts to give IT a call to find out what is going on to make sure they get started fixing the issue. Furthermore, they may be able to tell you a timeframe for when the repairs may be completed. Then, you can actually have an idea about what you can accomplish during this downtime!
What better time to network is there than when everyone has time? Now that the PACS is down, people can actually talk to you and listen!! This can be a time to speak to your favorite attending, technologist, nurse, residency coordinator, or janitor. And, no it is not a waste of time to talk to them. It brings good will around the entire department. In addition, getting to know your fellow employees gives great morale to the department. Who knows? The janitor may come to your department to clean up first because he actually likes you!!!
3. Study For The Boards
While at work, you should not waste a minute. One great way to occupy your time: get cracking on those books that you need to read. Start reading a chapter on what you would be doing if the PACS system were working. Or, maybe go over something that you really don’t know anything about. Regardless, this is a freebee. Now you will have less time to read when you get home!!!
4. Talk To Your Referrers
Maybe you have a burning question you need to ask one of your referring clinicians regarding a finding on a film and what that means for one of your patients. Or perhaps, you need to forward a message about a finding that was made. Well, now you actually have some time to do it. Don’t just sit there and complain about the PACS. Pick up the phone!
5. Arrange Elective Time
Perhaps, you are a 3rd resident and are thinking about what you want to do for the next year’s mini-fellowships or electives. Now you have a real opportunity to plan something. Take a walk to your area of interest- perhaps neurosurgery, orthopedics, or pediatrics, and plan a rotation for the following year. It will add an incredible experience to your training. What better time to do that then the present!
6. Observe Department Processes
The PACS system is down, but that doesn’t mean all patients stop arriving to the department. This is a great opportunity to watch the technologist, secretary, or nurse in action. Learn how they take histories, process the patients, and what they do on a daily basis. It never hurts to learn about the processes within your radiology department. You never know when some of these skills will come in handy when you are a full radiology attending with your own imaging center!
7. Research Projects
Downtime is a perfect opportunity to process the data on your iPad or research some articles for the next paper that you are going to write. Edit your article. Less time that needs to be spent in the department or in your house on this work!
You’ve been slouching on your chair all day until the PACS system went down. What better time than now to prevent a DVT and burn some calories! Climb those stairs. Walk around the grounds. Now is your time to get into shape!
9. Grab Your Lunch
Maybe the PACS went down around lunchtime. What a perfect opportunity to get the lunch that you would have interfered with your day otherwise. Now this PACS downtime is no longer wasted time!
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Now that you know what to do when the PACS system goes down, you will no longer whine and complain. Instead, look forward to this inevitable period of time. This extra time is a blessing in disguise!!!