PACS is the healthcare technology of the future. “A picture archiving and communication system (PACS) is a computerized means of replacing the role of conventional radiological film: images are acquired, stored, transmitted, and displayed digitally.” PACS is not just used in the radiology department it can be used all over the hospital in any location, anytime, anywhere and even be used with other hospitals, between different physicians. There are advantages and disadvantages to choosing to use the PACS system. There are other technologies that have a dramatic impact on the delivery of patient care as well these technology along with the PACS system make healthcare better.
One of the biggest advantages to using the PACS system is the fact that everything is done digitally. In my research I have found several reasons that hospitals should chose PACS to operate there radiology department as well as all the other areas in the hospital. In several articles it has stated that the use of PACS main advantage is “the improvement in efficiency.” PACS has been proven to decrease medical errors due to the fact “once an image has been acquired onto PACS it cannot be lost, stolen, or misfiled.” The PACS system also allows images to be available anywhere in the hospital whereas conventional film can only physically exist in one place at any one time. With the PACS system the physician can compare images at the same time. If an image is too dark or too light before you would have to retake the x-ray but with the PACS system you can adjust these things on the computer. Physician can also take an image from ten years ago and put it into the PACS system and compare it with the most recent image. Things like this can really help with diagnosis and treatment of patients. PACS also helps patient care be quicker because the physician can view the images anytime and anywhere in the hospital. For example if a patient is have trouble in the ICU the physician can view any images necessary to help treat the patient without leaving the ICU area therefore if the physician is needed he/she is right there. These images are available to all the members of the care team not just the physician. PACS system has been proven to save lives as well as lower medical errors. I read an article that stated “when the PACS system is fully utilized, the technology can play a significant role in reducing the potential for error by eliminating steps in the distribution and management of images and associated patient information across the enterprise. PACS system also allows hospital staff and physicians can schedule and order exams, update patient information across an enterprise, provide information and images to physicians at the point of care, and provide diagnostic tools, features, and functionality to ensure the highest quality of interpretation and diagnosis. Currently 20% of films are missing when needed. This wouldn’t happen if they were using the PACS system. “All images in the PACS database are automatically grouped into the correct examination, are Chronologically ordered, correctly oriented and labeled, and can be easily retrieved which is not necessarily the case without the PACS system.” The pediatrics and neonatal unit were among the first clinical specialties to start using the PACS system. Radiographic images play a big role in these departments. Time is very crucial in these units so it is a great advantage that you don’t have to go to the radiology department to retrieve these images. This is one good example how the PACS system can save lives and why the hospital should be using this system.
There are some disadvantages to the PACS system as well as with any system that you may choose to use. One disadvantage to the PACS system is cost of installing the PACS system in the hospital setting. In the year 1999 the cost of intalling the PACS system was one to two million dollars with a six percent annual maintenance. Studies have shown that PACS would pay for itself in five years. Another disadvantage is once you have gone filmless there is risk that the PACS system could have a system failure with this in mind as long as the data is backed up daily. One other potential problem of PACS is that the staff may not have the knowledge to be able to use the PACS system.
In my research I found that when the PACS system is used along with the EMR and the CPOE there is a dramatic impact on patient care. The EMR is where all medical records, including all of patient images, pathology, surgical results and history are done and stored electronically. The CPOE is where the physicians use computers to due order entry. “Each of these things in isolation helps somewhat with patient care but when the three are used together the results are much greater.
In Conclusion, healthcare technology is going to computerization and there is no stopping it. We are in an era where computers are an important part of daily life not just in the healthcare field. Learning how to use computers and there software is crucial for survival. In this paper I talked about one of the most rapidly growing systems in healthcare the PACS system. PACS is the healthcare technology of the future. “A picture archiving and communication system (PACS) is a computerized means of replacing the role of conventional radiological film: images are acquired, stored, transmitted, and displayed digitally.” PACS is not just used in the radiology department it can be used all over the hospital in any location, anytime, anywhere and even be used with other hospitals, between different physicians. I also talked about the advantages and disadvantages of the PACS system as well as other systems that work along with the PACS System.