PACS has the ability to deliver timely and efficient access to images, interpretations, and related data. Additional types of image formats are always being added. With the decreasing price of digital storage, PACSs provide a growing cost and space advantage over film archives in addition to the instant applications of communication systems pdf to prior images at the same institution. Digital copies are referred to as Soft-copy.
Radiology Workflow Management: PACS is used by radiology personnel to manage the workflow of patient exams. PACS is offered by virtually all the major medical imaging equipment manufacturers, medical IT companies and many independent software companies. Basic PACS software can be found free on the Internet. The architecture is the physical implementation of required functionality, or what one sees from the outside. There are different views, depending on the user. A radiologist typically sees a viewing station, a technologist a QA workstation, while a PACS administrator might spend most of their time in the climate-controlled computer room.
The composite view is rather different for the various vendors. Typically a PACS consists of a multitude of devices. The first step in typical PACS systems is the modality. The QA workstation is a checkpoint to make sure patient demographics are correct as well as other important attributes of a study. If the study information is correct the images are passed to the archive for storage. The next step in the PACS workflow is the reading workstations. The reading workstation is where the radiologist reviews the patient’s study and formulates their diagnosis.
Normally tied to the reading workstation is a reporting package that assists the radiologist with dictating the final report. Reporting software is optional and there are various ways in which doctors prefer to dictate their report. DVD authoring software used to burn patient studies for distribution to patients or referring physicians. The diagram above shows a typical workflow in most imaging centers and hospitals. Note that this section does not cover integration to a Radiology Information System, Hospital Information System and other such front-end system that relates to the PACS workflow.
As the need for distribution of images and reports becomes more widespread there is a push for PACS systems to support DICOM part 18 of the DICOM standard. Without stepping outside the focus of the PACS architecture, WADO becomes the solution to cross platform capability and can increase the distribution of images and reports to referring physicians and patients. There are several methods of backing up the images, but they typically involve automatically sending copies of the images to a separate computer for storage, preferably off-site. The client prepares a C-FIND request message which is a list of DICOM attributes. The client fills in the C-FIND request message with the keys that should be matched.