PACS (picture archiving and communication system) is a medical imaging technology which provides economical storage, retrieval, management, distribution and presentation of medical images. Electronic images and reports are transmitted digitally via PACS. This eliminates the need to manually file, retrieve, or transport film jackets. It allows a healthcare organization (such as a hospital) to capture, store, view and share all types of images both internally and externally.
The universal format for PACS image storage and transfer is DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine). DICOM permits PACSs, Radiology Information Systems (RIS) and more medical imaging systems to connect with and pass data to systems at other healthcare facilities. Most PACSs handle images from various medical imaging instruments, including ultrasound (US), magnetic resonance (MR), nuclear medicine imaging, positron emission tomography (PET), computed tomography (CT), endoscopy (ES), mammograms (MG), digital radiography (DR), computed radiography (CR), histopathology, ophthalmology, etc. Additional types of image formats are always being added. Clinical areas beyond radiology such as cardiology, oncology, orthopedics, and even the laboratory are creating medical images that can be incorporated into PACS.
A PACS consists of four major components:
Combined with available and emerging web technology, PACS has the ability to deliver timely and efficient access to images, interpretations and related data. It breaks down the physical and time barriers associated with traditional film-based image retrieval, distribution, and display.
We may highlight four main uses:
The use of PACS systems is beneficial to the diagnostician, the referring physician, the patient, as well as the hospital. These benefits might be summarized as follow.
The radiology specialty is one field of medicine with a very particular interest in PACS software. A radiology PACS is frequently deployed alongside a RIS. A RIS is used to schedule patient appointments and record a patient’s radiology history, where a PACS focuses more on image storage and retrieval. It is not only radiologists who need to be convinced of PACS’s utility and cost-effectiveness, but also referring physicians and hospital administrators.