Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) is a medical imaging technology which provides storage and access to images from multiple devices and locations. PACS transmit ultrasound images and reports digitally, replacing the need for film and manual transport.

PACS is a wonderful breakthrough in medical technology, but like most new technologies, it has its issues that take time and understanding to solve. The following are a few of the most common PACS issues and solutions you can use to fix them.

  1. Availability – PACS become too expensive for most facilities to handle on their own. Usually an IT department and staff are needed to support the PACS, which costs money and time that most health facilities have little of. Instead of using a PACS that requires in-house support, opt for a Software as a Service (SaaS) model. SaaS PACS offer support through an outside vendor who specializes in the PACS they built. Usually they are available during typical work hours, if not 24/7. They can also handle any issue remotely without having to interfere with normal workflow of your practice.
  2. Communication – PACS reach a wider audience than most administrators realize. Access and exposure is a great thing and overall helps workflow for everyone. At the same time though, the bigger the pool of staff that have access, the more questions and chance for miscommunication can take place. A simple solution is to anticipate misinformation and be prepared to manage accordingly. Your facility or practice should have a communication plan in place for staff to be trained on and fall back on.
  3. Network Connectivity – PACS lose their functionality when the network is down. Having an unstable network or connectivity issues with devices can lead to major headaches and lost data. A great solution to this is using a cloud solution (aka web-based) PACS. Sharing files “on the cloud” means that files are stored remotely on a server using an internet, or web-based, platform instead of your own internal network.
  4. Speed – Another issue associated with using an internal network to host your PACS is speed. If the network is slow because of too much traffic or not enough storage space, technologists and administrators trying to upload or share studies can get frustrated easily. Web-based or SaaS PACS however, are using an external network and most often can guarantee faster results. It’s important to demo the system for a test run to see upload and sharing speeds first-hand.
  5. Implementation Outside of Just Radiology – Imaging and PACS management is no longer limited to the radiology department. In addition to radiology, PACS has useful application in cardiology, vascular health, and women’s health.

Issues with any new technology are inevitable. The important thing is to be prepared and well-informed. It also a good idea to use quality PACS solutions with a customer service and support team who are available to help when needed.

Studycast® is the leader in diagnostic testing and web-based PACS. Traditional methods for transmitting ultrasound studies could take up to an hour, while Studycast® studies can be transmitted in five minutes or less.

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