Role Of Pacs In Radiology

Picture archiving and communication systems (PACS), is based on universal DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine) format. DICOM solutions are capable of storing and retrieving multi modality images in a proficient and secure manner in assisting and improving hospital workflow and patient diagnosis.
The aim of PACS is to replace conventional radiographs and reports with a completely electronic network, these digital images can be viewed on monitors in the radiology department, emergency rooms, impatient and outpatient departments, thus saving time, improving efficiency of hospital and avoid recurring cost of hard copy images in a hospital.

Role Of Pacs In Radiology

The three basic means of rendering plain radiographs images to digital are computed tomography (CR) using photostimulable phosphor plate technology; direct digital radiography (DDR) and digitizing conventional analog films. Non image data, such as scanned documents like pdf (portable document format) is also incorporated in DICOM format.

Hospital information system (HIS)
HIS constitutes the patient master index which stores data of all patients, admission and discharge records; outpatient, appointments, clinical responsible for patient care laboratory data.

Radiology information system (RIS)
It stores information regarding patients attending radiology department, schedules of examination which include data, time and room allocation and stores radiological reports.

Radiology has led the way in developing PACS to its present high standards. PACS consists of four major components: the imaging modalities such as radiography, computed tomography, endoscopy, mammography, ultrasound, CT, PET-CT and MRI, a secured network for the transmission of patient information, workstations for interpreting and reviewing images and archives for the storage and retrieval of images and reports. Backup copies of patient images are provisisonised in case the image is lost from the PACS.

PACS is an expensive investment initially but the costs can be recovered over a 5 years period. It requires a dedicated maintenance. It is important to train the doctors, technicians to use PACS effectively. Once PACS is fully operational no films are issued to patients. PACS can be linked to the internet, leading to teleradiology, the advantages of which are that images can be reviewed from home when on call, can provide linkage between two or more hospitals.

By – Assistant Professor – Mr. Binoo
Radiology Department
Uttaranchal (P.G.) College Of Bio-Medical Sciences & Hospital