by John R. Fischer
, Senior Reporter | August 17, 2017
A market report compiled by Signify Research is indicating that enterprise imaging will account for 27 percent of revenues in the global imaging IT market by 2021.
Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS) vendors are the main drivers behind this figure, according to the report, with many now offering EI solutions to compete against the multi-vendor imaging IT models of content management, archiving and informatics companies.
“Providers in general are looking to centralize toward a single vendor for imaging IT when they can ("one throat to choke"),” Steve Holloway, the company director and primary analyst for Signify Research, told HCB News. “In most recent cases for EI uptake, the incumbent PACS/RIS vendor has expanded their offering to EI (viewer, AV, VNA, workflow modules etc.). This makes it appear a better option to the provider (little or no migration, single point of administration, sometimes cost benefit or ability to bundle with modality hardware, etc.).”
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PACS vendors hold many advantages in this field, including the expectation among providers of lower cost and faster implementation through the same vendor, less training for staff, the ease of using a single platform approach and the perception of lower IT and professional administrative services. These aspects, though, are not always assured in reality.
The expansion into EI allows for PACS to offer technology to providers that not only provides access to images and image reports but also permits such reports to be shared among departments for wider clinical review, though most implementations by PACS vendors remain heavily focused on core radiology and cardiology markets.
It also allows for the management of resources and caseloads through the addition of analytical, dashboard and workflow tools.
Archiving and management vendors, however, are also noted in the report, with vendor-neutral archives (VNAs) and independent clinical archives possessing more capabilities and charging lower costs by connecting different departmental imaging IT systems.
They are also trying to develop clinical modules for viewing, workflow, clinical review and diagnostic purposes, although providers still favor PACS for clinical and diagnostic matters due to their decades of expertise in these areas.
Other aspects that factor into this trend are the size and type of provider. Midsize providers, for instance, are more in favor of PACS, whereas large academic centers are more likely to choose multi-vendor interface systems, and willing to put up with the longer implementation time and higher expenses that come with installing deconstructed models.
Many hospitals in advanced health care regions have adopted EI, though the majority still rely on departmental solutions. Emerging health care regions also primarily use departmental solutions more, although that may change in the future.
“The most interesting trend we are looking at for emerging region adoption is if they will ‘leapfrog’ the departmental adoption phase moving forward, and jump straight into a cloud-based, enterprise imaging model,” said Holloway. “As cloud computing cost comes down and availability of cloud-based products increases in EI, we may see some jumping straight to this model.”
Enterprise imaging is becoming a popular solution among many health care organizations
as they seek to enhance workflow and image management.