PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication System)
Patients, referring physicians, and the staff of Delaney Radiologists are enjoying the benefits of a major advance in medical imaging technology. Delaney Radiologists has been using the FUJI Medical Systems® Synapse™ PACS since 2005.
PACS is a computer system used for acquiring, displaying, and storing medical images electronically.
PACS is used for the management, storage, and distribution of digital images (such as X-rays, CT or MRI scans, and Ultrasound) and electronic patient information (identifying information, medical histories, radiologists' reports, and other documents). Images are distributed electronically (including secure access via the Internet) and interpreted on computer workstations. Entire imaging exams can also be "printed" onto a single inexpensive CD, replacing expensive sheets of film.
There are many benefits of a PACS. Technologists can focus on their patients, letting the technology work for them instead of the other way around. PACS handles many tasks in the background to process images and deliver them immediately to the radiologist. Many laborious and time-consuming steps—manual processing of x-ray films, organizing and hanging films for the radiologist to read, transporting and storing of films and folders—are things of the past.
Radiologists can be more efficient and accurate when using computer workstations for exam reading. Prior comparison images can be brought right into view side-by-side with the current images. Reports are completed faster, and the information is delivered to the patient's doctor in a more timely fashion. With proper security and confidentiality safeguards in place, images and reports can be viewed online via the Internet at any time from anywhere from virtually any standard PC with an Internet connection. There is no more waiting on films to be hand-carried from place to place—and greatly reduced risk of film loss or misplacement. This anytime-anywhere access provides for convenient consultation between Delaney Radiologists and referring physicians, who can quickly and simultaneously access images in their offices or at the hospital through the secure Delaney web server. The PACS stores prior exams and makes them also immediately available for review and comparison. PACS allows for the eventual elimination of film, creating cost-savings. That's good for the environment too, as x-ray photographic darkroom chemicals and toxins are eliminated from the process altogether.
Image files are stored electronically at Delaney Radiologists, with backup copies stored in off-site facilities, greatly reducing the chance of loss of (or the tampering with, or theft of, or misuse of) important medical data. It is a simple matter (and standard practice now) to send backup copies to secure data centers across town or even hundreds or thousands of miles away. Patient privacy and confidentiality are safeguarded at every point in this entire system, much more so than in a paper-and-film system. Only strictly authorized and verified users have any access to any records. The traditional paper-and-film recordkeeping system is fraught with dangers of loss, unauthorized access, and simple misplacement. Films might be left in a doctor's office when they are needed elsewhere in a life-and-death circumstance. PACS can help make the difference.
PACS enables medical professionals to share information, including the most detailed images, quickly and securely.