How much does a PAC System cost? It’s a simple question that often requires a complicated answer. A simple system for a small practice can cost around $5,000 while a complex system for a large medical group can easily top $100,000. PAC Systems, even from the same vendor, are rarely the same. Even standardized, web-based systems require a level of customization so it’s almost impossible to compare apples-to-apples.
A typical PACS computer system that you purchase (or lease) will, at the very minimum, consist of: computer hardware, system software, and some form of storage. The five basic functions it should be able to perform are: image acquisition, network communication, image display, image storage/retrieval, and a patient data interface. These different functions are what vendors will use to develop your price.
The actual cost of your system will vary widely depending on a few key factors.
1. The size of your practice
PAC Systems come in all shapes and sizes and can be designed to fit the needs of a wide range of practices. More than anything, the size of your practice will shape the cost of your PAC System. A large, multi-physician group can expect to pay more for their system due to the sheer volume of data, workstations and users the system will require. A bargain price may mean you are getting a system that is stretched to meet your needs. Conversely, spending a lot of money does not mean you are getting a better system. You could be purchasing a much more complicated and cumbersome system than what you practice truly needs. Ask your vendors what size practice their PACS is designed for and make sure it’s a good fit for you.
2. How you plan to use the system
Some systems are limited in their scope while others are 100% customizable and can do whatever you want. Once you receive your quotes you’ll need to think through what you really need from the system. These could be:
- Customized reporting
- Off-site access
- Large number of users
- Patient access
- A specific purchasing option
- DICOM imaging
- Off-site storage
Obviously, the system you choose will need to meet that requirement but considering the features this way can help to prevent spending resources on unnecessary features that will rarely be used.
3. Vendor Considerations
Each vendor you receive a quote from will be different and will have specific advantages and disadvantages. Their experience, level of quality and availability will all play into the price you receive. There will be variations in the way they charge, implement and maintain the system. Your practice may require a particular specification that only one or two vendors provide.