Enterprise PACS Archive Management Middleware - Who’s Who?

Published: 18 Oct 2006

By Nadim Daher, Medical Imaging Market Analyst – Frost & Sullivan

With the adoption of PACS within multiple departments across the enterprise and its increasing operation across distributed environments, PACS is rapidly evolving into an enterprise-wide system for image management. It is no wonder the imaging community feels it is time for PACS to have a ‘name-lift’, one that would take away the connotation carried over by the word ‘PACS’, that is, that of a departmental system for radiology or cardiology alone.

Changing Paradigms

While the front-end clinical applications, already fairly uniform across PACS vendors, continue to evolve slowly to incorporate more features and integrate information from more systems, the back-end infrastructure of PACS is increasingly being shared across the enterprise. This growing ‘disconnect’ between the front-end clinical application and the back-end infrastructure creates room for an improved layer of middleware to manage enterprise data including, including but not limited to PACS. As end-users’ expectations from their information systems continue to evolve, the purchasing cycle of PACS customers is growing more complex. While largely departmental-based in the past, the internal decision-making process within the enterprise is moving steadily to the C’x’O level, actively involving the IT department

It is no longer a secret to anyone: consolidating storage in the healthcare enterprise yields lower total costs of ownership (TCO). Direct operational savings can be achieved through centralizing and optimizing the management of enterprise storage in the IT department. What the market is only starting to realize, however, is the importance of the mid- and long-term benefits of implementing an enterprise-wide archive strategy. Sharing a common storage infrastructure can improve inter-departmental communication and generate more synergy in the enterprise. Aggregating or better yet, integrating data on a patient-centric basis can constitute a sure first-step towards developing a comprehensive EMR. Such benefits ultimately improve the efficiency and quality of patient care.

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