Picture Archiving Communication System (PACS)

Anytime, Anywhere Medical Imaging Technology

logo_infotechRemember when “one-hour photo processing” was considered cutting-edge?

Just as digital cameras have changed the way Americans develop and share photographs, digital technology is transforming medical imaging at major U.S. healthcare systems, including the Seton Healthcare Network.

With the implementation of PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS), Seton, in partnership with the Austin Radiological Association (ARA) is revolutionizing the way medical images like CT scans, ultrasounds, and X-rays are captured, stored, interpreted and shared.

Although PACS is a serious time-saver for physicians, our patients are the real winners. No extra trips to pick up and deliver films. And since PACS expedites the delivery of images to the radiologists who interpret them and to the physicians that ordered them, patients receive their test results faster. What’s more, patients benefit from improved image quality and fewer retakes, which reduces radiation exposure.

How it Works

PACS is a filmless method of acquiring, storing, and communicating medical images. Because images are stored electronically and can be accessed remotely, more than one specialist can view the same image simultaneously from any location, anytime. And since images are encrypted, patient privacy is protected.

Seton Radiologists interpret images using high-resolution dual monitors, which enable them to compare current images to previous ones—and manipulate images (zoom-in, rotate, brighten, increase contrast) for a more accurate reading.

In some of Seton’s newer surgery suites, PACS PCs have been connected with fiber DVI cables so that images can be displayed—and even manipulated on monitors fixed to ceiling mounted arms located above the patient. No more walking to a light box on a wall to view a static film.

PACS is integrated with SETON’s Radiology Information System (RIS), which is used to schedule and track studies. Seton Radiologists also have access to Voice Recognition (VR) to prepare their reports, reducing turn-around time for the physician who ordered the study, and for the patient awaiting the results.

PACS is browser-based and accessed via single sign on by authorized personnel, who can view images from home or office—anywhere, anytime. If someone forgets to sign off, the system automatically turns off after a short time period.

PACS in Action

A patient with a serious spinal injury arrives at Seton’s Level I Regional Trauma Center at Brackenridge Hospital. Medical staff stabilizes the patient and sends the patient for a CT scan to determine the extent and nature of the injury. The digital images are reviewed by the radiologist on-call (who may be in-house or remote) and in some cases, the attending emergency room physician. Because PACS allows multiple physicians to view images instantly at the same time—consultations between doctors are easier and faster—saving valuable time and even lives.