Journal of Digital Imaging

, Volume 31, Issue 6, pp 792–798 | Cite as

Who PACS a Punch? The Role of the Picture Archiving and Communication System/Radiology Information System (PACS/RIS) in Quantifying Experiential Learning in Radiology Residency

  • Abraham Gerhardus Wilhelmus GreylingEmail author
  • Richard Denys Pitcher


The clinical logbook is the currently accepted tool for evaluating experiential learning (EL) in postgraduate radiology training programs internationally. The role of the picture archiving and communication system/radiology information system (PACS/RIS) in defining the complete EL portfolio of radiology residents has not been explored. To conduct a PACS/RIS-based analysis of the comprehensive clinical outputs of radiology residents, and to correlate outputs with residency recruitment criteria and exit examination performance. Retrospective, customized searches of the institutional PACS/RIS were conducted to determine the clinical outputs of radiology residents completing a standardized 4-year training program at a single institution in a middle-income country. The association between outputs and prior-to-residency radiology experience, prior-to residency completion of the primary examination, and performance in the exit examination were determined. Fifteen residents were included. Average clinical output was 8286 cases, with a wide range (6268-10460). Total output was not associated with first-time exit examination success (p=0.16). Residents with prior radiology experience tended to greater success at first exit examination attempt (10/11, 91% versus 2/4, 50%; p=0.09), despite lower average outputs (8138 versus 8695). Outputs were not associated with prior completion of the radiology primary examination (8263 versus 8378; p=0.87). This first PACS/RIS-based analysis of the complete clinical outputs of any radiology residency training program provides important baseline educational data, with the potential to inform discourses on specialty training internationally. It demonstrates the potential for the modern PACS/RIS to supersede the traditional logbook and to serve as a comprehensive EL portfolio for radiology residents.


PACS/RIS Logbook Radiology residency Experiential learning Clinical output 



We acknowledge Tariq Stegmann and Lee-Roy Witbooi (Tygerberg Hospital PACS/RIS administrators) for their assistance with access to the institutional PACS/RIS.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

The study was approved by the Health Research Ethics Committee of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences of Stellenbosch University and TBH Management. Written informed consent was obtained from all participating residents, whose anonymity was assured through the use of unique study identifiers, known only to the principal investigator.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Radiodiagnosis, Department of Medical Imaging and Clinical Oncology, Faculty of Medicine and Health SciencesStellenbosch University and Tygerberg Academic HospitalCape TownSouth Africa
  2. 2.Division of Radiodiagnosis, Department of Medical Imaging and Clinical Oncology, Faculty of Medicine and Health SciencesStellenbosch University and Tygerberg Academic HospitalCape TownSouth Africa

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