No one will disagree that picture archiving and communications systems (PACS) can be a huge benefit to the quality of healthcare.
The ability to transmit and access patient images throughout a hospital network or to off-site locations to speed a diagnosis and subsequent delivery of treatment is high on any caregivers PACS priority list.
One barrier to acquiring PACS, yet, can be the initial investment cost. Depending on the size of an institution and the corresponding magnitude of the project, a hospital or imaging centers investment easily can reach seven figures long before the first image is stored and retrieved.
For smaller, independent healthcare healthcare facilities and clinics providers who arguably could benefit from PACS, perhaps even more than other providers limited financial resources in the past have blocked many freestanding facilities and medical imaging clinics from acquiring PACS technology.
Today, however, vendors are developing more, less expensive options to make image accessibility, transmission and storage more affordable and more small, independent hospitals and clinics are joining the digital age.
One of the biggest issues facing small, rural hospitals is a shortage of radiologists. Because finding, hiring and retaining radiologists has become more of a challenge for facilities, PACS provide a vehicle for patient images to be read on-line from sites outside of a hospital or clinic.
Please refer to the September 2001 issue for the complete story. For information on article reprints, contact Martin St. Denis