Clinical Engineering

The current trend in embracing technology by hospitals has seen an increase in the acquisition picture archiving and communication system (PACS) by many organizations. The system is an electronic; it acquires, sorts, transports, stores, and display medical images electronically. Those who are opposed to implementation of PACS argue that the system is expensive. However, proponents of the system believe that PACS compensates for the high cost of implementation in the long run. This write up discusses the benefits of PACS amidst the challenges.

Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS)

According to Oosterwijk (2004), Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) is a healthcare system which displays archives as well as communicates medical digital images. It offers a suitable replacement to the use of conventional analogue methods which were traditionally used to acquire and diagnose medical images by the use of films (Rouse, 2010). This write up discusses PACS; the benefits and challenges of this digital system.

PAC system is important as it gives a solution to the several changes that were associated with the use of film which could be available in only one place at a time. This resulted in frequent delay of healthcare delivery in cases where the film was not availed immediately to the referring physician. Currently, PACS make it possible for the patient’s data to be viewed from any of the computers used in the healthcare system (, 2010). PACS enables viewing, retrieving, communication as well as managing digital images alongside other relevant information. Related information, managed by PACS, may include demographic information for the patients, patient diagnostic reports, and clinical history. The managing aspects of PACS ensure work flow in the department of imaging which include organizing studies and presenting them consistently in the form of work lists as well as keeping track of study status (Hood, 2006).  

However, the process of implementing PACS is quite tasking and results in the key changes in the hospital system. This is because the system has different technology and requires different expertise to manage. Therefore, the major barrier to implementation of PACS is the aspect of cost, associated with such changes (Huang, H. & Ratib, 2003). The process is further disadvantaged if the implementation competes with other new digital modalities, such as CT or MR which generate immediate new revenue upon installation (Huang, 2010).

Despite the challenges, PACS implementation is strongly favored or encouraged by federal initiatives and/or by national reimbursement policies (Dyro, 2004). Countries with weak currency may feel that importing films would be expensive on their economy, thus resort to facilitate acquisition of PACS (Tong & Wong, 2009).


In conclusion, it is notable that people may feel threatened by change. Therefore, the same is expected for implementation of PACS as well. However, previous acquisition of the new technology has proved that it is more effective, quite efficient, and cost saving in the long-term.

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