As hospital PACS adoption slows, room for growth in outpatient centers

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PACS vendors are looking for new markets. Image Source: St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center  

Despite the fact that outpatient facilities are now the preferred place for all types of imaging procedures, the adoption of PACS at imaging centers, orthopedic clinics and physician groups lags behind the technology’s implementation at inpatient facilities, according to a report published this week by the research firm KLAS.

However, KLAS also noted that interest from a large and growing field of software vendors leaves the ambulatory PACS market poised for growth.

The report, which profiles the performance of more than a dozen relevant software vendors, highlighted how PACS functionality is becoming an essential competitive requirement for even the smallest organization with imaging needs. Yet, despite overall positive performance by the majority of vendors, many outpatient facilities have yet to invest in imaging automation.

Among other findings, the report pointed out that only 20 percent of orthopedic organizations are estimated to have adopted PACS. Still others have been slow to adopt the technology because of declining economic conditions and the impact of legislation, like the Deficit Reduction Act.

PACS software vendors, however, have begun to aggressively target the ambulatory market as a key arena for growth. “The entry of so many vendors into this space – one of the most crowded of any market KLAS tracks – illustrates the opportunity vendors see targeting outpatient facilities,” said Ben Brown, report author and KLAS research director.
In evaluating 17 ambulatory PACS vendors, the KLAS report found that the Intelerad IntelePACS product received the highest performance score (91.9 out of 100) based on feedback from current customers. Other top products included RamSoft PowerServer PACS (88.7), DR Systems Unity (87.5) and GE Centricity IW (87.2). It should be noted, however, that most of the vendors in this study received a higher performance score than the KLAS healthcare software average of 79.7 out of 100, following the trend of historically high performance for most vendors in the PACS market segment.

“Typically these vendors focus on one of three areas: low-cost solutions for first-time adopters, enterprise vendors targeting large imaging centers and solutions that provide unique functionality for specialty groups like mammography viewing,” he added.