Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS)

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Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS)

  1. 1. Unit VI: Imaging System Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS) Dr. Tanveer
  2. 2. After reading this chapter the reader should be able to: • Describe the history behind digital radiology and the creation of picture archiving and communication systems • Enumerate the benefits of digital radiology to clinicians, patients and hospitals • List the challenges facing the adoption of picture archiving and communication systems • Describe the difference between computed and digital radiology Learning Objectives
  3. 3. Definition of PACS “PACS (picture archiving and communication system) is an evolving healthcare technology for the short and long term storage, retrieval, management, distribution and presentation of medical images.”
  4. 4. PACS History • The first reference to PACS occurred in 1979 when Dr Lemke in Berlin published an article describing a similar concept • The work on the radiology data standard DICOM began in 1983 by a team lead by Dr Steven Horii at the University of Pennsylvania • Digital imaging appeared in the early 1970’s by pioneers such as Dr. Sol Nudelman and Dr. Paul Capp • The University of Maryland hospital system was the first to go “filmless” in 1999 • The father of PACS in the United States is felt to be Andre Duerinckx MD PhD
  5. 5. PACS Basics • Initially, hospitals purchased film digitizers so routine x-rays could be converted to the digital format • Now digital images go from the scanning device directly into the PACS • PACS usually has a central server that serves as the image repository and multiple client computers linked with a local or wide area network (LAN or WAN) • Images are stored using the Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) standard • PACS is made possible by faster processors, higher capacity disk drives, higher resolution monitors, more robust hospital information systems, better servers and faster network speeds. PACS is also integrated with voice recognition systems to expedite report turnaround
  6. 6. PACS Basics … • Input into PACS can also occur from a DICOM compliant CD or DVD brought from another facility or teleradiology site via satellite • Most diagnostic monitors are still grayscale as they have better resolution (3-5 megapixels), compared to color. Newer “medical monitors” have 2,048 x 2,560 pixel resolution • PACS is now important for Cardiologist who perform image producing procedures • It is estimated that about 90% of large teaching hospitals have PACS but usage by small community hospitals is far lower • PACS was initially associated with expensive work stations ($50K) using thick client technology. Now the trend is for thin or smart clients that permit clinicians to access PACS via a web browser from the office or home
  7. 7. PACS Key Components • Digital acquisition devices: the devices that are the sources of the images. Digital angiography, fluoroscopy and mammography are the newcomers to PACS • The Network: ties the PACS components together • Database server: high speed and robust central computer to process information • Archival server: responsible for storing images. A server enables short term (fast retrieval) and long term (slower retrieval) storage • Radiology Information system (RIS): system that maintains patient demographics, scheduling, billing information and interpretations • Workstation or soft copy display: contains the software and hardware to access the PACS. Replaces the standard light box or view box
  8. 8. Types of Digital Detectors 1) Computed radiography (CR): after x-ray exposure to a special cassette, a laser reader scans the image and converts it to a digital image. The image is erased on the cassette so it can be used repeatedly
  9. 9. Types of Digital Detectors … 2) Digital radiography (DR): does not require an intermediate step of laser scanning. It is important to note that many facilities with digital systems or PACS still print hard copies or have some non-digital services. This could be due to physician resistance, lack of resources or the fact that it has taken longer for certain imaging services such as mammography to go digital. Full PACS means that images are processed from ultrasonography (US), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET), computed tomography (CT) and routine radiography. Mini-PACS, on the other hand, is more limited and processes images from only one modality.
  10. 10. PACS advantages • Replaces a standard x-ray film archive which means a much smaller x-ray storage space. Space can be converted into revenue generating services and it reduces the need for file clerks • Allows for remote viewing and reporting; to also include teleradiology • Accelerates the incorporation of medical images into an electronic health record • Images can be archived and transported on portable media; USB drive and Apple’s iPhone • Other specialties that generate images may join PACS such as cardiologists, ophthalmologists, gastroenterologists and dermatologists
  11. 11. PACS advantages … • PACS can be web based and use “service oriented architecture” such that each image has its own URL. This would allow access to images from multiple hospitals in a network • Unlike conventional x-rays, digital films have a zoom feature and can be manipulated in innumerable ways • Improves productivity by allowing multiple clinicians to view the same image from different locations • Rapid retrieval of digital images for interpretation and comparison with previous studies • Radiologists can view an image back and forth like a movie, known as “stack mode” • Quicker reporting back to the requesting clinician
  12. 12. PACS disadvantages • Cost, although innovations such as open source and “rental PACS” are alternatives • Integration with hospital and radiology information systems and EHR • Bandwidth limits • Workstation limits • Viewing digital images a little slower than routine x-ray films • Black and white computer monitors not as bright as traditional x-ray view boxes. This may be an issue with radiologists, but not the average physician
  13. 13. Key Points • PACS is the logical result of digitizing x-rays, developing better monitors and improving medical information networks and electronic health records • PACS is well accepted by radiologists and referring physicians because of the ease of retrieval and the quality of the images • PACS is a type of teleradiology, in that images can be viewed remotely by multiple clinicians on the same network • Cost and integration are the only significant barriers to the widespread adoption of PACS
  14. 14. Thank You !!

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