Emerged in the early 80’s; Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS); has emerged as one of the most definitive and latest in radiological image storage and transportation. PACS is a group of different systems which facilitates storage, retrieval, processing and viewing of digitalized images and other related information. It has four major components- imaging center, secure distribution line, viewing devices (both mobile and stationery) and archival storage.

The images are kept in a network and can be retrieved as per requirement of physicians. Installations of such systems results in a filmless clinical environment. This system serves ideally for processing many types of images such as; x-ray photos, MRI, Ultrasound, Tomography, Cycloplegia Retinoscopy and such. Programming of this system is such that it has ability to timely deliver access to images and related data along with interpretation. This is done in a very efficient manner; thereby easing consultations between physicians and respective radiology department. PACS becomes beneficial in emergencies, that doctor does not have to wait long for image viewing. They can instantly access them when ready. Also the digital images formed are such that enhancement to a large extent is possible. Diagnostic capabilities of examinations of doctors can be increased manifold in such ways.

There are many variations of this system available in the market. Certain software’s are available for this purpose. But the cost of a fully fledged PACS system can be high for small to medium medical institutions. Hence, a vast majority of practices go for mini-PACS, a cheap alternative to full system. They are department based systems, compared to full PACS which are at minimum, entire hospice based. The ease of maintenance, cheap repair and ability to integrate itself into fully functioning PACS makes this a better investment opportunity.

The advantages of application of PACS Health Care are many. Image once processed is not misplaced when stored in PACS, hence making its accessibility that much easier. Digitalized image can be viewed at multiple locations compared with physical copy which can only be seen by one person. This becomes beneficial in emergencies; with multiple specialists needing to see the patient’s condition. The database correlation ensures correct grouping & storage of images. Post processing, software inclusion and using computer tools becomes more efficient when soft stored image are readily available. One major advantage which benefits both directly and indirectly is economic savings; which comes from lack of film and related products usage.

Practical limitations do come into picture while implementing PACS. The most prevalent is the cost issue. Installation of PACS in a 500 bed systematic hospital costs about 10 crores in fixed costs. Additionally 6–8% of maintenance fees go into PACS. The repayment time of this system comes to around 5 years. This means that big hospitals can afford to install such systems but it proves to be expensive for small practices. Also contingency plan is required in case of failure of system, as no hard images would be available.

No doubt, advantages of this system mediate the expense and in upcoming future this system is going to find more and more applications in medical field

Author Bio:

MEDICOSA is a networked patient care ecosystem on cloud to enable medical fraternity for offering integrated health care services to their patients. For more information about PACS Health Care please visit MEDICOSA

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