Technology and innovation play a major role in today’s healthcare system as it is crucial for sustaining health. It has enhanced the quality of medical care offered to patients, and PACS system in hospitals & health facilities is one such example of technology improving medical care.
PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication System) has changed the way radiology works and is now considered one of the most essential requirements in healthcare facilities. Sharing of instant medical images electronically and reporting them remotely is now very easy and quick, thanks to this invaluable software. With AI (Artificial Intelligence) enabled technologies now becoming available in PACS, their functionality is growing by the day
What is PACS?
PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication System) is a medical imaging technology that provides economical storage, presentation, retrieval, distribution, and management of medical images. Transmission of electronic images and reports takes place digitally via PACS. Thus, manual filing, retrieving and distribution of film jackets is no longer required. It allows storage and viewing of all types of medical imaging by healthcare organizations both internally and externally.
A radiology PACS is often deployed with RIS. An RIS is used to record patient history and schedule appointments, whereas PACS focuses on image storage and retrieval.
The four major components of PACS are:
- The imaging modalities
- Transmission of patient information through a secured network
- Interpreting and reviewing of images through a workstation
- Storage archives for retrieval of images and patient reports
Benefits of PACS
PACS improves efficiency in electronic data handling workflow. It offers a cost and space advantage due to decreasing price of digital storage. Benefits provided by PACS are many, but here we highlight few of the most important ones:
Improved Viewing and Analysis
An effective viewing and analysis is possible as PACS’ digital images enable you to zoom in and operate the images for a more elaborate analysis.
Where the conventional film can only exist in one place at one time, PACS enables simultaneous multi location viewing of images. It enables collaboration among radiologists as they can seek each other’s opinions by viewing the cases simultaneously and discussing them under peer review module. The interpretive skills of the professionals prove beneficial for the patients as well. The high-quality images make it possible to give a more accurate diagnosis.
Easy Accessibility to Images and Reports
PACS enables instant and easy access to images and reports. No matter where the tests are performed reporting can be done remotely and results can be shared anywhere, even if it is an isolated facility. PACS enables submitting reports, archiving images and transferring them through a portable media anywhere in the world. Practitioners at different physical locations can access the same information concurrently for teleradiology. In addition, quick access to prior images is also possible at the same institution. Radiologyhistory of patients is available, which allows comparison with previous studies.
User-friendly since there are several customizations available for easy use of the software for staff and beneficial for patients. PACS is a great integration platform for other automation systems such as Radiology Information System (RIS), Electronic Medical Record (EMR), and Hospital Information System (HIS). The PACS database automatically groups all images chronologically, correctly labelled according to their examination. They can also be retrieved easily with the help of criteria’s such as name, hospital, referring clinician, etc.
Efficient Data Management
The system provides an efficient, seamless review of radiology cases within a physician’s daily workflow as it makes it easier to store and organize imaging data, with a centralized and accessible system. Data management becomes more efficient as the number of duplicate images can be reduced as previous data is available with the system.
Steps to Consider While Purchasing or Upgrading PACS
While purchasing or upgrading to a new PACS, one should look for features such as scalability and user-friendliness. The features should be easily configurable and should have uploading features for prior studies. Other than that, it should have a voice recording feature, integration with the Hospital Information System (HIS) and the Cloud feature. It is also beneficial switching to a new system when it has in-built AI algorithms.
An integrated RIS-PACS is a great advantage to radiology department as it can give evidence-based insights such as enhanced productivity of radiologist, turn-around time, modalities being used for improved workflow, and referring physicians sending maximum exams. RADSpa, one of the best integrated RIS-PACS available, provides a customizable work-flow suiting the requirements of radiologists.
A RIS-PACS’ rich intuitive AI integrated workflow, supporting all DICOM modalities, an orchestrated work-flow, multilingual software, advanced application supporting MIP/MPR and 2D/3D viewer, a scalable architecture and ability to integrate with any existing PACS and 3rd party AI algorithm, is sure to add value and increase productivity for any radiology department.