The big question: Where is deconstructed PACS going?

February 06, 2017
From the January 2017 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
• The traditional turnkey PACS vendors are working their way toward being able to offer turnkey PACS solutions comprising new software technology that looks a lot like best-of-breed technology that launched the deconstructed PACS movement.
• The deconstructed PACS component vendors are morphing into PACS providers that will soon be able to offer turnkey PACS solutions comprising best-of-breed software applications for the larger early majority and late majority market segments.

What should any health care system do in preparation for a radiology PACS replacement project? The first subject I always bring up in the kickoff meeting with a new client is qualifying and quantifying the organization’s IT resources. This process is basically an honest and careful self-evaluation of the IT department by its leadership. All of the questions should focus on determining whether the department has the staffing and experience to support a best-of breed solution.

After determining the IT resources, the next step is to do your homework. Research both the vendors and the solutions in both categories: turnkey and best-of-breed component. Ask the vendors to identify their product road maps and their recent history of meeting their previously stated road map goals.

Develop an enterprise imaging strategic plan that covers both the larger imaging departments like radiology and cardiology that have already gone digital, as well as all of the smaller imaging departments that may or may not have converted to digital, and may or may not have a department PACS. The plan should also include a strategy for dealing with images that are already being captured by mobile devices during office encounters. The process of developing the enterprise imaging strategic plan should carefully consider all of the following:
• The composition of the upcoming replacement PACS solutions.
• How to deal with DICOM as well as native data object formats.
• All of the interface issues.
• How to achieve the synchronization of the various databases in the various data repositories (i.e. IOCM).

Once the enterprise imaging strategic plan has been developed and adopted by the organization, it is never too early to begin conversations with both incumbent vendors and potential new vendors aimed at establishing a more rational pricing of their software licenses. Specifically, the value of an ordered imaging procedure such as radiology is significantly different than the value of an encounter-based imaging set such as those captured in emergency and dermatology.

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