Future predictions for PACS


Carol Ko, Staff Writer | February 20, 2014
From the January/February issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

No spin zone
Although the PACS market is a mature one, maturity doesn’t necessarily correlate with customer satisfaction. Yet, with years of use among health care professionals, PACS customers know what they want and PACS providers are listening closely. At the top of the wish list are improvements to workflow efficiency. Customers are asking to have easier access to prior studies. “You’d think that problem would be solved a long time ago, but the majority of customers still have a problem with that,” says Rik Primo, director of strategic relationships, SYNGO Americas, Siemens Healthcare. “This is especially important when treating, say, a patient with cancer — it’s important for the radiologist to be able to determine how big that tumor was five months ago, and how is that tumor evolving now. That will be used to determine what kind of therapy is needed.”

Customers are also requesting better layouts and display protocols – for example, having a prior study on the left of the screen and the new study on the right of the screen, or multiple views of the same anatomy. “If you have multiple views of the anatomy in an MRI, it’s convenient to have these views next to each other and when you scroll, you want the other views to be automatically scrolling too,” says Primo.


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Most of all, radiologists seek to move away from what experts call a “swivel chair workstation,” or a work setup that requires radiologists to pivot from one workstation to another. Many radiologists still recall the days of film, which required that they adjust their eyes to the film to see all the detail. Having to look away from the screen and return to it again requires a similar process of accommodation that can lead to headaches. Accordingly, vendors are moving toward a simplified, integrated workstation model that creates a unified view of all images, 2-D and 3-D, for radiologists.

Float this idea
Cloud-based computing is gaining steam as radiologists expect better image access. A recent study by Transparent Market Research reported that the global cloud computing market in the health care industry was valued at $1.82 billion in 2011 and is expected to reach $6.79 billion by 2018.

According to the Government Accountability Office, 75 percent of all imaging is performed outside of the hospital setting, where PACS are harder to come by. The National Healthcare Information Network currently requires a PACS to share medical images, which means 75 percent of medical images will not be available to providers without PACS.

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