PACS replacements, which had slowed overall, are expected to ramp up significantly riding a wave of replacements starting in the largest hospitals and eventually sweeping over smaller facilities. Nearly one in six hospitals and health systems with over 1,000 beds reported they have plans to replace their PACS, according to a recent report from market researcher KLAS.
"These large hospitals and health systems are seeking more innovative technology and deeper strategic partnerships for imaging," said Ben Brown, KLAS medical imaging general manager and the report’s author.
Providers reported that their vendors, for the most part, are performing very well in the PACS market, with most vendors maintaining or improving on customer satisfaction since last year. DR Systems, Philips, Carestream, McKesson and Fuji customers were the most excited about their current system, according to KLAS.
One of the major considerations for potential buyers is how well PACS vendors work with their existing EMR systems. Providers are looking for vendors with in-depth clinical and radiological expertise, and expect reliability, scalability, interoperability, mobility and accessibility.
"Innovation is also top of mind for providers. And innovators that can be great partners are what providers are looking for," said Brown.
While larger hospitals are preparing to replace their PACS, administrators at smaller facilities have different concerns. They are more occupied with meeting meaningful use, preparing for accountable care guidelines and retooling for ICD-10 codes. Because of these competing concerns, replacing their PACS has been pushed down the priority list.
There just isn’t the same excitement level with an investment in a new PACS, either. “A technological wonder 15 years ago, PACS today lacks the technological sizzle of Google, Amazon, Facebook, or a Steve Jobs-led Apple that could generate enthusiastic lines of buyers,” wrote Brown.
But that appears to be changing, with larger hospitals leading the way.
“Expect the flow of tens of millions of dollars in PACS replacements to generate a small wave that will grow and eventually wash over smaller hospitals,” wrote Brown.