Radiology Information System

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A radiology information system (RIS) is a database system used by medical imaging departments to store, manipulate, and distribute patient medical imaging data and possibly imagery. The system generally consists of patient tracking and scheduling, result reporting and image tracking capabilities. It is frequently bundled with the Hospital Information System (HIS), and is critical to efficient workflow to radiology practices. The advent of client/server computing, high-capacity networks, digital imaging, as well as DICOM and HL7 standards have facilitate the integration of Picture Archiving Communication System (PACS) and RIS as the logical imaging management system.[1] The RIS drives the information workflow of the Radiology Department, and provides essential information securely so that the PACS can perform its role.

The components of a Radiology Department

  1. Radiology Information System (RIS)
  2. Picture Archiving Communication System (PACS)
  3. PACS Broker
  4. Diagnostic Workstations
  5. Access to Radiology Studies/Reports [1]

The Radiology Information System integrates into one system a number of functions that have traditionally been performed by multiple individuals and multiple systems. Below is a list of some of the more common features of a RIS. [2] [3]

Patient Management

  • Reception Desk
  • Scheduling (manual or via HIS)
  • Capture Patient Demographics
  • Capture Relevant Clinical Information
  • Procedure-specific Patient Instructions
  • Document Scanning
  • Track Exam Status

Procedure, Diagnosis & Reporting

  • Technologist Worklist
  • Modality Worklist
  • Radiologist Worklist
  • Prepare Comparison Studies
  • Dictation, Template or Speech-To-Text

Results Reporting

  • Billing
  • Report Distribution (Fax, secure E-mail, Portal, EHR)

Information Management

  • IT System Integration
  • Information Management
  • Inventory Management
  • Practice Analytics

As with most HIS, crucial initial workflow re-engineering can be disruptive to the overall departmental operations. However, the short-term sacrifice results in long-term improvements in efficiency and resource utilization.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Branstetter, Barton. Practical Imaging Informatics. Foundations and Applications for PACS Professionals. Springer, 2009.
  2. Pianykh, Oleg. Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM): A Practical Introduction and Survival Guide. Springer, 2008.
  3. Dreyer, Keith. Hirschorn, David. Thrall, James. Mehta, Amit. PACS: A Guide to The Digital Revolution. Second Edition. Springer, 2006.