HIMSS: PACs now in ‘heavy use’ across healthcare, but opportunities for growth remain

The use of PACs in healthcare facilities is now widespread across the U.S., but technological advancements in image sharing and storage will continue to provide opportunities for growth, according to a brief published online Jan. 6 by HIMSS Analytics.

The report gathered insights from nearly 150 U.S. hospitals, health systems and radiology leaders, with nearly 50 percent of respondents indicating the use of an enterprise imaging viewer in their organization, though adoption of next generation imaging solutions—including cloud-based technologies—still varies among healthcare providers.

“While many organizations are comfortable with their PACS imaging technology, there seems to be some opportunity on an enterprise level to get as much information as possible into the hands of physicians at the point of care,” HIMSS Analytics Research Director Brendan FitzGerald said in a release. “Enterprise imaging viewing capabilities across numerous technology platforms could potentially aid in that effort.”

The healthcare industry is eagerly awaiting those capabilities, according to the report, with many respondents indicating mobile access on smartphones (28.9 percent) and tablets (35.5 percent) as a top priority for efforts to improve image viewing technology.

But the sustained “heavy use” of PACs inside and outside radiology departments across the country is just the beginning, the report concludes.

“While the adoption level of existing radiology PACS implementations appear saturated, this study indicates there could be the potential for growth for organizations looking to adopt new technology focused on the ability to store, share and provide universal access to images.”

Click here to preview or purchase the full report.