Understanding PACS complexities for the PACS administrator

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Craig Bryant, senior systems analyst for Sharp Healthcare (San Diego, Calif.) outlined the technological concepts and complexities of PACS and explained some of the duties of a PACS administrator during SCAR’s Imaging Informatics Administration Symposium yesterday in Austin, Texas.
   
“PACS transcends an image distribution system through electronic storage of images and aim to move to a filmless environment,” Bryant said. PACS include five components:

  • Image acquisition at the modality or via digitization.
  • Storage of small to large data sets. This includes redundancy, availability and disaster recovery.
  • Image display including monitor resolution and configuration.
  • Image distribution throughout the enterprise.
  • Integration with other hospital systems. PACS administrators need to consider the network and backbone as well as modality connectivity to determine image display response time.    

“IT is key in a successful PACS implementation,” said Bryant. The PACS administrator can be responsible for various duties including RIS administration, training, systems integration and network and systems administration. “The key is to understand radiology workflow. Images are not just data,” stated Bryant, who concluded that PACS administration is a demanding, but worthwhile, profession.