Objective: To obtain users' views of the new picture archiving and communication system (PACS) from clinical and radiological staff at Hammersmith Hospital, UK.
Methods: Semi-structured interviews were used to ascertain the views of staff, following an interview schedule which covered aspects of: (1) their use of PACS, (2) facilities available, (3) the perceived quality of images, (4) reporting, (5) image availability, (6) image accessibility, (7) training, and (8) ease of use of PACS.
Results: Interviews were carried out with 34 key users and providers of the radiological service at Hammersmith Hospital. Overall, staff were very satisfied with PACS particularly in terms of image availability. All staff said that they preferred PACS to the previous, conventional radiology service.
Conclusions: The key implications of issues raised by staff were: the impact of 'down-time' and the importance of an efficient back-up system, the requirement for sufficient short-term storage to prevent images being off-line during clinical situations, the usefulness of the folder system for management of the images, the need to access images for teaching purposes, the advantage of having a default display protocol to facilitate radiological reporting, and the requirement for flexible, yet effective, training to ensure that the system is utilised to its full potential by users.