PACS adoption has reached 'mature stage,' study says

A new report from the research firm IMV has found the market for electronic picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) is largely in "replacement mode."

According to "The PACS/IT Continuum: Present Access and Future Integration Strategies, 2010-2012," released by the IMV Medical Information Division, replacement has become the primary motivation for purchasing new systems in 2010, with 85 percent of the planned purchases of complete systems being replacement systems, compared to 15 percent for first buyers.

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

IMV's 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, radiology information systems (RIS), cardiology PACS and plans to interface related information systems and other "-ologies" with radiology PACS. The report provides a current snapshot on the vendor market shares for the PACS, RIS, and CPACS installed base.

"PACS has become an essential tool for hospitals and their served community," said Young. "The increased need for image processing has placed demands on the speed and capabilities needed for 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.

"Initially viewed as an efficiency tool just for radiology," she added, "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."

Other highlights from the report:

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Topics: RIS and PACS

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