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The purchase of a traditional PACS system includes hardware and software licensing (typically a 5+ year long commitment), extensive IT staff to maintain and update the system, electricity costs for power and cooling, purchasing and updating user licenses, and wasted hours of solving IT dilemmas onsite.
In a fast-paced medical environment, like that of a trauma unit, CDs have become a matter of life or death. Frequently, patients arriving from a trauma center or as a referral have medical imaging on a CD. If the CD was not lost or damaged in transport, it might be incompatible with the system upon arrival–leading to a tedious upload process. This method is not only highly frustrating for medical staff, but also places patients at high risk for redundant radiology exams exposing them to additional radiation.
In an increasingly digital world, doctors are beginning to require information at their fingertips when and where they need it. With traditional viewing infrastructures, when a patient comes in as an emergency, doctors are unable to make a preliminary assessment from their homes. The key now is allowing doctors to view images as they are received in real-time, from any location and on any device.
Exchanging medical images is complex due to the extremely large size of image files and the many systems that must be interconnected to seamlessly access and care for all of a patient’s record – regardless of the file type. As a result, digital transfer of imaging and reports can be a daunting and slow process. While most PACS have perfected managing DICOMs within their facilities’ walls, it’s often necessary for this information to be shared with sources outside of a network, and also with EMR & RIS. Digital sharing of large medical image files using VPNs can slow down a network and require an extremely large download window. This type of connection is limiting, as direct point-to-point connections must be set-up before image sharing can occur. Further, complicating matters is that using a hub-and-spoke model prevents two spoke hospitals from exchanging data without first passing through the hub hospital.