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Report: Cardiology hearts PACS

by Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed News Associate Editor | January 27, 2011
Adoption of a formal PACS system by many hospital cardiology departments has jumped 60 percent over the last four years, according to a new report, as heart doctors deal with a flood of new image-heavy clinical information.

In a report released Wednesday, market research firm IMV said 80 percent of U.S. hospitals with cath labs have adopted a cardiology PACS system, up from the 51 percent of hospitals reporting using a CPACS system in a 2007 survey.

Plus, about 9 out of 10 of the hospitals surveyed said they planned to purchase new systems or upgrade their current ones over the next three years.

Growing numbers of cardiologists are also integrating CPACS with cardiovascular information systems, the Des Plaines, Il.-based firm said. CPACS handle images, such as echocardiography, cardiac cath, CT, MR, nuclear medicine and PET information, while CVIS contain EKG readings and other patient data.

"Cardiologists need patient images to be integrated with related non-image patient information in order to create structured reporting capabilities," Lorna Young, senior director of market research for IMV, said in a statement.

She said three out of five surveyed hospitals have both CPACS and CVIS systems. About half those have the two systems integrated, so about one-third of U.S. hospitals with cath labs have integrated CPACS and CVIS, with such features as data archive infrastructures and patient-centric databases, Young said.

About 17 percent of cath lab-equipped hospitals have only a CPACS, and 12 percent have only a CVIS. Only 8 percent have no formal installation of one of the C-systems.

Other findings from the report: For the CPACS users who also have a radiology PACS, only half said their two systems were integrated. And the survey also found out who controls the purse strings for capital purchases for these departments. About one-third said the cardiology departments controlled the capital budget, and one-fifth said it was the cath lab. One-third said it was handled by the IT department, split between the hospital or health care system level.

IMV used responses from 200 department administrators for its 2010 Cardiology Information Continuum Report.