In the world of radiology and medical imaging, PACS seems to have revolutionized healthcare organizations by amalgamating the latest technology and medical knowledge.
If you are wondering what PACS stands for then don’t think further, let us tell you PACS stands for Picture Archiving and Communication System.
PACS is a technology that is all about medical imaging and is mainly used in healthcare and medical institutions in order to secure and store digitally transmitted images as well as relevant medical and clinical reports. Let’s have a look at PACS in detail.
What does PACS stand for?
As defined earlier, it means Picture Archiving and Communication System and with the help of PACS, the requirement of storing and managing files manually has become almost obsolete. It is not easier to record, store, send and even retrieve sensitive reports, files and information digitally.
The medical images and other documents can now be secured in off-site servers where access is easy and can be done from almost anywhere in the world wherever the software for PACS is being used. It can even be accessed on mobile phones, computers, and other workstations.
Medical imaging technologies like PACS have become important in the medical industry because of the growing demand across the healthcare sectors as well as the data analytical features which make the images more accurate and prevalent. The easy access has also made medical technologies like PACS favored by physicians.
Even though PACS has become equally important amongst all sectors of medical health, still it is most in demand among radiologists.
Traditionally the radiology department is responsible for producing prolific X-Rays. The technologies of PACS are easily incorporated into different medical departments such as cardiology, nuclear medicine imaging, oncology, dermatology, and pathology.
A lot of medical photos and images are taken for the record to be later on reviewed by the clinical diagnosis, analysis, and treatment as part of a patient’s treatment plan. The relevant information is further collected to identify any kind of physiological and anatomical abnormalities, charting the progress of the ailment and treatment. The physicians also make sure that the database is formulated according to the medical images of the patient for future reference.
With the advent of technology in the medical field, it is very important for physicians to have access to the most updated version of the images and clinical reports of the patients to maintain history as well as improve their health of the patient.
Digital technology helps physicians to lessen the chances of errors in prescription and treatment and also prevents redundant and obsolete testing. Digital access also improves the safety of the patient and also saves the patient as well as the physician both money and time.
Almost all the major equipment manufacturers of medical imaging and the IT companies related to the medical and healthcare field have indulged themselves in PACS.
PACS is regarded as the system that is nowadays used in abundance to store, present, retrieve, and share digitally recorded images to different hardware modalities in the medical field. Such as the Computed Tomography (CT) scan, X-Ray, Ultrasound machines, and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).
The modern usage of PACS is often attributed to DICOM which means Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine. This is considered a standard protocol in order to transmit and manage medical records, images, and relevant data.
DICOM was established back in 1983, by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) with the collaboration of the American College of Radiology (ACR).
Both NEMA and ACR, later on, formulated a joint committee in the hope of development and further advancements in the field of medical imaging technology and also pledged to work on the expansion and development of PACS.
The structure of PACS
The structure of PACS is not very complex and it is fairly easy to use. It comprises four elements listed,
- Hardware machine for capturing images
- Secure connection of network to exchange and distribute the images,
- A mobile device or a workstation for viewing the images along with interpreting them and processing them further
- Last of all an electronic archive where the images can be stored to be retrieved later along with the relevant reports and documents.
Uses of PACS
PACS is all about the latest technology. It has several uses as it becomes a lethal component of today’s medical industry. Some of the most important ones are:
- It has replaced the hard-copy films which were mandatory for the management of hardcopy archives.
- It has given remote access to the physicians by enabling them to pursue the data and review it while being at any physical location with the help of easy online access.
- It offers a platform for electronic images having an interface with other automated systems in the medical world such as the Electronic Health Record (EHR), Radiology information system (RIS), and Hospital Information System (HIS).
- It has given liberty to the radiologist and other persons related to the medical and radiology sector to manage the examination of the patients easily.
The amalgamation of PACS with other medical imaging technologies:
Even though the processes that require PACS are homogeneously spread across the healthcare system, sometimes PACS integrates with other medical imaging technologies as well such as the vendor-neutral archive (VNA) technology.
The vendors of PACS have different syntaxes to perform such as DICOM making it harder for the data to be retrieved on different devices.
DICOM also enables the medical imaging technologies to connect with the healthcare data systems and transfer the images and reports. DICOM combines with PACS and VNAs in order to manage the archives of images, record-keeping the orders listing and the billing.
PACS is a process that has slowly become the backbone of the medical industry due to its easy accessibility and quality product in terms of images, records, and reports. PACS is being widely adopted by the healthcare industry across the world as it stores the images on digital servers using the hybrid cloud system and the images are stored in the cloud which can be accessed from the PACS servers across the world.