"PACS technology has revolutionized the field of medical imaging by allowing the storage of medical images in digital format," Chief Information Officer Phillip Hughes said. "The ability to capture patient images, digitize those images, and have them read within minutes by a radiologist, is common practice in large healthcare organizations. This has not always been the case for smaller, rural healthcare facilities. But now, that is all changing."
Before PACS, a developing room had to be used to develop the image. The image also had to be viewed from a light box instead of a computer monitor. There also had to be enough physical space to store all the images, Hughes said. "The same volume of records that previously took up two to three full rooms in a building, now take up about the same space as a DVD player," Hughes said.
According to Hughes, PACS allows radiologists, doctors and patients to see the x-ray, ultrasound, CT scan or MRI a few minutes after the imaging process has been completed. This ability allows a doctor to give a patient a faster diagnosis. Radiology Co-manager, Jeremy Stone said the system makes it easier for doctors to share images if a patient has two different doctors or if a patient is being transfered. "For rural hospitals (PACS) is a tremendous asset," Stone said.
Not only are new images going to be in the system, but old images are going to soon be digitally scanned and put in the system as well, Stone said.
"Digital imaging equipment provides doctors with the critical information they need when time matters most," Hughes said. "Patients' lives will be saved by getting this information to radiologists, ER doctors and family physicians quicker, more efficiently and cheaper. PACS technology is helping move healthcare forward by streamlining a critical component of the treatment process and ensuring the accuracy of information."