PACS—Finding the Perfect Fit

When we think about healthcare overall, imaging is critical. While the EMR is the documentation of what is happening with a patient, images provide the power behind the diagnosis as well as insight into progress monitoring. Providers rely on having a PACS and other imaging systems to give them access to those images in a clear, easy way.

In our recent PACS 2020 report, we dive into the evolving, dynamic PACS and Enterprise Imaging market to give you the information you’ll need when making decisions.

Solutions Depend on Customer Needs

PACS is not a one-size-fits-all vendor landscape. It is almost like buying a car. What car do you want? Are you going off road? Are you hauling stuff? Are you driving long distances? Do you have five kids in the car? Not everyone would be happy with the same car or, in this case, the same solution. And depending on organizations’ needs and wants, what is best for one organization might not be what is best for another. There is something for everyone.

That is why this report focuses not only on PACS vendor performance but also on vendor capability. Specifically, we are looking at vendor scalability and enterprise imaging strategy—two areas that providers want and need to know about.

The Perfect Fit

Regardless of their imaging volume, Sectra and Change Healthcare customers report high satisfaction with product quality and functionality. And for large-volume customers (>300,000), Sectra leads out in their ability to deliver new technology and foster strong partner relationships while Intelerad leads out in catering to large volume imaging groups

However, when we look at vendor performance in the large-volume space (>500,000), no vendors particularly excel. These volumes add a higher complexity and make vendors take risks and push the envelope. That is why performance does seem to drop. Change Healthcare, Fujifilm, and Philips customers report that some of their needs are met, while GE Healthcare, Agfa Healthcare, and IBM Watson Health clients report being able to scale to high volume but report lower scores.

As providers seek a complete understanding of a patient’s healthcare history, they want to have access to multiple departments’ images. With radiology still being the core of that strategy, many seek to understand vendor’s approach to an enterprise imaging strategy is important to providers when they are making purchasing decisions. Because of their established customer bases and enterprise imaging progress, IBM Watson Health and Agfa Healthcare are considered for PACS solutions and are seen as strategic partners in the larger picture.

The data from the report is clear and actionable as to where vendors can differentiate themselves and impress providers. And even though the PACS market is mature, we are seeing quite a bit of movement.

Remote Capabilities 

With COVID-19, we are seeing more imaging providers take advantage of and seek remote capabilities offered by vendors. Though these capabilities were around before the pandemic, there is now an effort to purchase solutions that offer a more contactless experience. Organizations don’t want to risk the health of their employees and patients by having someone come in to pick up a CD when digital image exchange is an option.

We also see PACS moving to the cloud as more people are becoming comfortable with its adoption. Though the initial investment for that switch is steep, updating the hardware in a PACS is not cheap either.

To find out more about PACS vendor performance, vendor scalability, and enterprise imaging strategies, check out the full report.


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