The big question: Where is deconstructed PACS going?

February 06, 2017
From the January 2017 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

The vendors that already had a zero or near-zero diagnostic display package went about developing their own VNA technology, or at least building distribution partnerships for the VNA component. The vendors offering stand-alone VNA technology went about developing, buying or partnering for clinical and/or diagnostic display technology. Both the component display and the VNA vendors frequently partnered with the vendors that offered the stand-alone workflow/worklist technology to create what certainly began to look like a turnkey PACS solution comprising best-of-breed components. How ironic, indeed, that the vendors who launched the anti-turnkey PACS movement would eventually seek to look like a turnkey PACS provider.

This packaging of best-of-breed components into a somewhat turnkey solution makes sense. Whether the individual components came by way of in-house development, OEM arrangement, purchase of a company or simply a strategic reseller agreement, the technology packaging allowed for tighter integration of the software components, unification of the disparate remote system monitoring solutions and a much more coordinated and efficient project management process. Any vendor that can now offer all five components — Acquisition/QC, Workflow and Worklist, Diagnostic Display, Data Management (Archive) and Clinical Distribution and Display — effectively can market themselves as a turnkey PACS solution provider.

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My market forecast is something of a summary of what I have already presented here.

• The deconstructed PACS strategy appeals to innovators and early adopters, and based on the adoption rate of deconstructed PACS over the last two years, the deconstructed PACS market segment is nearing saturation as we move into the early majority segment of the technology adoption curve.
• The deconstructed PACS strategy is not as appealing to the early majority and late majority segments of the market. These market segments do not need high-end features/functions and component flexibility, and they certainly do not want to pay for features that they will not use. These market segments have limited IT resources and the experience to self-manage complex multi-component systems.
• Turnkey packages with fewer separate parts are more attractive to the early majority and late majority market segments. Their optimal comfort level is with “one throat to choke” and the large established vendors. Fewer separate parts and separate vendors certainly suggests fewer software compatibility and interfacing issues. In these market segments, value-based pricing is a strong plus. Acceptable technology that allows for competitive pricing is a sought-after characteristic of the deal. Larger vendors, especially those that offer imaging modalities, can bundle the turnkey PACS with the larger modality deals. Finally, fewer vendors contributing components to the turnkey package usually means lower deployment and operating costs.

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