A Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) is a computer operating system that is used in medical imaging. The purpose of this system is to help capture, store, distribute, and display images in hospitals. This system transfers electronic images and reports, offering superior convenience. The PACS was designed to save time and money that was wasted in medical imaging, reporting, and diagnostics. This system is an economic data storage and transfer technology that allows access of the images from multiple channels. With the help of this system, the need to transfer medical images and files manually is eliminated. This system makes use of Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) for storage and transfer.

How Does it Work?

The PACS has replaced many old imaging and reporting technologies in medical sciences. There was a time when pictures and diagnostic reports would take up a lot of space on computer systems and were quite hard to share. However, with the invention of PACS, the medical industry was able to quicken up the process of imaging and reporting. Furthermore, the cost it would take to store big files in CDs in the past also lowered due to cloud PACS.

A PACS features four main components including the following:

  1. A network that is used to transfer patient information
  2. Imaging modalities like CT and MRI
  3. Long-term and short-term archives for storing data, images, and reports
  4. Workstations for interpreting and reviewing images

This web-based system is highly accurate and time-efficient. It gives medical professionals a chance to receive information and data in real-time. PACS is able to carry images from various medical instruments including nuclear medicine imaging, computed tomography, digital radiography, ultrasound, magnetic resonance, positron emission tomography, mammograms, computed radiography, endoscopy, histopathology, and more.

Weighing The Pros and Cons of PACS Software

A PACS is highly useful in the medical industry and although this technology has brought with itself numerous benefits, there are certain cons to the system as well.


  • Reduces duplication of images due to the presence of past images in the system.
  • Allows physicians to get a hold of chronological view of radiology histories of patients for comparison with previous studies.
  • Zoom in and zoom out technology enables physicians to diagnose and analyze with greater precision.
  • Allows for tests to be performed anywhere with result being easily available through the system or shared with others.
  • Easy submission and sharing of images with others.
  • Offers centralized access to all the staff members for better data management.


  • The system is expensive to implement
  • Annual maintenance required
  • System failures
  • Requires a separate monitoring team

When you compare the pros and cons of a PACS, you will come to know that the value that this technology offers is greater than its couple of disadvantages. However, many experts suggest that PACS will pay off for itself in almost five years by offering a range of benefits to the hospital.

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