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Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS)

  • A health information system (subsystem) made of a combination of hardware and software dedicated to the short and long term storage, retrieval, management, distribution, and presentation of images.
  • Electronic images and reports are transmitted digitally via PACS; this eliminates the need to manually file, retrieve, or transport film jackets.
  • The universal format for PACS image storage and transfer is DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine).
  • Non-image data, such as scanned documents, may be incorporated using consumer industry standard formats like PDF (Portable Document Format), once encapsulated in DICOM.
  • A PACS consists of four major components: the imaging modalities such as CT and MRI, a secured network for the transmission of patient information, workstations for interpreting and reviewing images, and archives for the storage and retrieval of images and reports.
  • Combined with available and emerging Web technology, PACS has the ability to deliver timely and efficient access to images, interpretations, and related data.
  • PACS breaks down the physical and time barriers associated with traditional film-based image retrieval, distribution, and display.

Uses of PACS:

  1. Hard copy replacement:
    PACS replaces hard-copy based means of managing medical images, such as film archives. With the decreasing price of digital storage, PACSs provide a growing cost and space advantage over film archives in addition to the instant access to prior images at the same institution. Digital copies are referred to as Soft-copy.
  2. Remote access:
    It expands on the possibilities of conventional systems by providing capabilities of off-site viewing and reporting (distance education, telediagnosis). It enables practitioners in different physical locations to access the same information simultaneously for teleradiology.
  3. Electronic image integration platform:
    PACS provides the electronic platform for radiology images interfacing with other medical automation systems such as Hospital Information Systems (HIS), Electronic Medical Records Systems (EMR), Practice Management Systems, and Radiology Information Systems (RIS).
  4. Radiology Workflow Management:
    PACS is used by radiology personnel to manage the workflow of patient exams.


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April 25th, 2012 at 10:02 am

Posted in Courses