Healthcare // Clinical Information Systems
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Healthcare Imaging Systems Pervasive

Only 15% of hospital picture archiving and communications systems buyers are purchasing the systems for the first time; most are replacing or upgrading older models.

A survey shows that 85% of business decision makers at hospitals that plan to purchases new picture archiving and communications systems (PACS) in 2010 are doing so to replace older ones. Only 15% of respondents said they are buying new PACS for the first time.

The "PACS/IT Continuum: Present Access and Future Integration Strategies, 2010-2012" report is based on responses from 314 PACS or radiology administrators and managers whose primary hospital has more than 100 beds. The survey shows that as a technology, PACS has permeated the market and is commonplace in many hospitals across the country. Published June 24 by IMV medical information division, a marketing research and consulting firm, the report also found that:

-- For the 100+ bed hospitals with PACS, 84% have implemented it in multiple locations outside of their hospital, and 16% are single hospital PACS implementations.

-- Overall, 93% of hospitals with 100+ beds have a radiology information system (RIS), comprised of integrated RIS/PACS, department-based RIS, or integrated RIS/HIS systems.

-- The top clinical application types accessible from PACS desktops include CT angiography, MR angiography, mammography breast CAD, and CT calcium mapping.

-- Overall, 9% of the hospitals have their own dedicated 3-D lab outside of radiology, and 59% of the 100+ bed hospitals have a cardiology PACS (CPACS).

"In hospitals with 100+ beds, the adoption of PACS has clearly reached the mature stage, with very few 'first buyers' of PACS systems," Lorna Young, IMV's senior director of market research, said in a statement. "Moreover, the purchase of first buyer and replacement systems is a small portion of future PACS investments, comprising only 13% of the planned expenditures from now through 2012, while 73% of the expenditures are for expanding and upgrading their present PACS systems (with an additional 14% of expenditures potentially spent by hospitals whose respondents did not explicitly specify their PACS investment plans)," Young added.

The report provides insight into current and future PACS implementation strategies across the digital continuum, including archive strategies, access to advanced visualization software on the PACS desktop, RIS, cardiology PACS, and plans to interface related information systems and other technologies with radiology PACS. The report provides a current snapshot on vendor market share for the PACS, RIS, and CPACS installed base.

According to Young, PACS is an essential tool for hospitals and their served community. Furthermore, the need for image processing has in turn placed demands on the speed and capabilities of other technologies including image storage and visualization by the hospital enterprise, with image processing utilization expanding beyond radiology.

"The top planned PACS investments are to expand image storage capacity, additional PACS workstations and flat-screen monitors, expanding network/bandwidth infrastructure, advanced visualization software, and wireless networking," Young said. "Initially viewed as an efficiency tool just for radiology, PACS has become a cornerstone of communicating diagnostic results across healthcare systems, and is increasingly being integrated with other healthcare enterprise systems such as EMR/EHR and HIS. Some facilities are developing enterprise-wide solutions that integrate PACS with cardiology PACS, as well as data from other specialties," Young added.

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