HOW HAS THE RESPONSE TO PACS BEEN?
PACS in India, the response has been very good so far. In fact, there are quite a few hospitals that are fully using the PACS Software. The hospitals that we have been targeting have shown very keen interest in PACS. We feel that market is getting mature and is set to boom.
HOW IS THE TECHNOLOGY LIKELY TO EVOLVE IN THE COMING YEARS?
PACS technology has been changing quite rapidly. Initially it was newer and more sophisticated equipment, like good quality CT, MRI, PET/CT etc., These have already allowed clinicians to diagnose with much better accuracy.
In future we anticipate that with more development in algorithms and computing power, Computer assisted Diagnosis based on radiology data will evolve as feasible technology and will enhance quality of diagnosis to uprecedented level.
WHAT ARE THE BASIS REQUITEMENTS TO IMPLEMENT A PACS ACROSS AN ORGANISATION?
Assuming that a hospital already has a radio diagnosis facility with equipments and radiologists, the following would be additonal requirements:
- Equipments must be DICOM complaint. Some of non-complaint equipments may still be used with additional DICOMisers.
- A PACS server that will receive studies from equipments. Store those, allow queries & retrieval, archive, and allow automated routing.
- DICOM workstations that would be used be Radiologists for viewing, processing, analysing, and reporting the studies.
Are Hospitals in India Self-Sufficient as fas as using this technology is concerend?
Yes, to a great extent, In fact, Indian hospitals are wel equipped with the PACS technology. There is good quality support avaliable from various vendors. Additionally number of radiologists, who are comfortable in using sophisticated PACS workstations, is growing and hence pushing the utilisation of Pacs infrastructure in hospitals.
HOW DO YOU VIEW THA MARKET FOR PACS IN INDIA?
Quite good. In fact, the market is getting cery exciting. Most of the top league hospitals are already using PACS while most other progressive are exploring PACS. Earlier significant high cost of ownership, due to high license fee and hardware & storage costs. However the crashing prices of hard ware & storage, combined with reasonably priced solution from some of the vendors has removed that barrier. Todya hospitals of any size can acquire highest quality PACS server abd soecuakust wirjstatuib at a price affordable to them. CT,PET / CT, 4D / 5D ercctera and keeping these digitally remain the only viable option.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF PACS WHEN YOU LOOK AT IN FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF THE ENTIRE HEALTHCARE CONTINUUM?
IT application that a hospital uses can be categorized as PAS (Patient administration System), CAS (Clinical Administration System), EMR (Electronic Medial Records) and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning). In order to get complete view of a patient’s EMR, one needs complete radiology studies as well. Which is maintained in PACS. This makes PACS an integrated part of full patient care applications and workflows.
Does it raise the issue of security of data?
In any form of Medical records. We get privacy and data protection issues. These need to be understood and handled by hospitals that implement PACS. Hospitals needs to additionally understand the security issues and risks involved when PACS in used to enable tele-radiology to allow access of study outside hospital premises.
Does PACS help in providing tele-medicine?
Most of PACS solutions, when implemented properly, will allow out of the box tele-radiology. Enabling studies to be reported be remote radiologists. However there may be additional applications required to allow handling of transfer of clinical data, appointments, tele – conferencing, billing etc., India are treating IT as a strategic area and willing to invest.
From your experience in implementsing PACS in India, What are issues you came across as a service provider?
In few occasions, hospital may not be clear on human resource needed from their side to maintain and use their PACS environment. For example, to eggectively use PACS Radiologists, Clinicians, Operators and PACS administrators must get trained properly. These need to be properly planned and executed: otherwise all benefits from Pacs might not be realised. Another set of issues comes when hospital does not have clarity about the duration for which they want to retain studies, making estimation of storage complicated.
Any other comments?
Indian healthcare is fast moving to a stage where hospital will need to compete more for the same set of patient and in order to do so improve quality while keeping the costs in control. In this regard, many hospitals have started looking or otherwise should look in to way to improve their quality and controlling costs. IT can be a strategic enabler, however hospitals should be careful and engage with a vendor only with proper due-diligence.
Advances in PACS Technologies
Today, Pacs’s are being widely implemented in radiology department for routine clinical diagnosis. Though there are several hundreds of first-generation PACSs currently used by many hospital to support direct radiological softcopy readings they are not capable of integrating other related text-based information. But the subsequent development of second – generation PACSs, which is now known as hoapital integrated PACSs (HI-PACSs) or enterprise PACSs, meets this criteria, which is integration of Pacss with heterogeneous information system such as HIS and RIS transition to an open client / server system architecture, and the implementation fo recoginzed imaging standards such as DICOM and HL7.