The radiology information system, or RIS, has long been the work horse of the imaging group practice, handling such functions as scheduling, demographics collection, even billing and results reporting. Now, under the meaningful use program, the RIS is taking on a new level of importance: Some radiology groups are using their RIS as the backbone of their participation in the incentive program.

Keith Dreyer, D.O., vice chair of radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital, told attendees at the RSNA 2011 conference in Chicago that the day is soon approaching when RIS vendors will undergo complete certification of their systems, meaning they are capable of upholding all data capture and reporting requirements called for in the MU program. Dreyer said about one-third of RIS vendors had attained complete certification, with another third having attained modular certification. "If your RIS vendor has attained modular certification, you need to ask what their next step will be," he advised attendees.

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