What is a PACS System?

A Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS) is an electronically managed, medical image storage and retrieval system. In a timely and highly-efficient manner, the PACS enables a patient’s entire medical portfolio (including all archived and recent diagnostic images and reports from multiple modalities) to be stored, managed, updated, retrieved, and shared via a digital format viewable on a computer screen.

A PACS System provides instant access to a patient’s recent and prior medical images and information. Manila folders, jam-packed with hard copies of a patient’s medical history, make it nearly impossible for the patient’s physician to access immediately if physically away from the office. With a PACS System, critical information about a patient can be retrieved, accessed, and shared within seconds – even from a remote location outside of the office environment.

How it works is simple. The system’s server holds the database of images and data. You connect to the server through a local area network (LAN), a wide area network (WAN), a web-based interface (so that you can connect remotely or via a virtual private network (VPN), or through a secure website address (HTTPS). With the remote connection, not only can you access the medical information conveniently and easily from any location, but also simultaneously review it and discuss it with other specialists and colleagues at different locations.

There are many major medical imaging equipment manufacturers and software companies that offer variations and levels of PACS and an array of software solutions. Taking the time to first research the various options and features available on the market today will help ensure that you have chosen the best system for your office’s current and future needs.

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