In my recent conversations with healthcare providers, the terms “deconstructed PACS” and “reconstructed PACS” have come up — sometimes even both terms in the same conversation. While the two terms have been a bit nebulous, many providers know what they mean. PACS has been the sweetheart of digital radiology, but now may become a controversial piece of enterprise imaging because it appears to be taking on a life of its own. While some providers have discussed deconstruction, others have reported reversing that process and reconstructing as they build a future strategy around their PACS vendor.
As we speak to those who are making imaging purchasing decisions or have already adopted an enterprise imaging solution, it is evident that no single strategy fits all. Niche vendors are being invited into various discussions, and PACS vendors have become more flexible by offering a suite of solutions or options à la carte.
With healthcare as a whole undergoing change, it is no surprise that the shift in reimbursement and value-based care is also transforming the imaging world. New technology from best-of-breed vendors inadvertently puts pressure on traditional PACS vendors, forcing them to become more innovative in their strategy.
Providers are expressing fatigue with viewing data and images that are stored in silos. While adoption and provider feedback is still early, universal viewers are up and coming. Walls are coming down, and VNAs are becoming a household name for storing more than radiology images. Providers are carefully looking at the potential of VNAs to improve workflow.
As healthcare and imaging evolve, they become more patient-centric. Patients are becoming more involved in their care and have become more mobile than ever. Exchanging images has become an essential function for organizations to not only communicate with referring physicians but also respond to the needs of their patients. As the number of patient requests to view images via the patient portal increases, imaging ceases to be the department in the basement.