To store music and pictures electronically, casual computer users are often happy to trade sound and image quality for storage convenience, but when it comes to radiology and X-ray images, there’s no compromising quality. Storing medical imagery electronically requires a lot of storage space and reliable, high-quality solutions. PACS – the acronym stands for picture archiving and communication system software – is designed to handle high volume, large-sized electronic images and help with data storage and retrieval. Companies with software that can accomplish this for radiology practices include GE HealthCare, RamSoft and Novarad.

Picture Archiving & Communication System Software: What to Look For

PACS is primarily used to store medical images and allow medical professionals quick access to those images. The systems can store X-rays, films, CT scans and MRIs. PACS systems are also able to store document files so you can store medical records along with imagery and data. Below are some issues you'll want to keep in mind as you compare PACS software.

Compatible Systems
PACS systems are supported by a DICOM transfer protocol, the standard in medical communications. Any PACS system should support all major imagery types as well as major software products, such as PDF documents and also security components. Good PACS systems should also be compatible with specialized imaging machines and software, including mammography machines and PET scanners. Be sure the PACS software you’re looking at supports all the systems you use.

Depending on what type of facility or facilities you run, you may want a PACS system that can to support wireless and remote access so that medical professionals can access files as needed. Keep in mind that you need to operate a fully secure network that’s big enough to transfer large amounts of data used by the system. Most companies that offer PACS software have salespeople or consultants that can help you make sure your infrastructure can support the PACS system you want, and that the PACS system can support your office.

Workflow & Patient Care
PACS software can assist with patient care in a number of ways. A good PACS system will contain software that helps with radiology workflow management to get patients in and out of radiology centers efficiently while maintaining the highest standard of care. Look for a system that has additional features that help with patient care, including records storage and retrieval.

Remote access to images can mean the difference between life and death for patients, and doctors should be able to retrieve images whether they’re in another area of the hospital or in another area of the world.

Consider all the various types of professionals who need to access PACS software to care for a single patient. From the clerk checking the patient in to the nurse who preps for the reader, and so on, a long chain of people will access the software from different workstations and need to see different views for completely different purposes. Consider all of the people in your chain, and make sure the system you select meets all of their needs.

A good PACS software package can help manage radiology images and allow access to the medical professionals who need to view them, all of which is essential for providing good patient care. Finding the best PACS software for your practice can be complicated, but there are a variety of options to fit a range of needs.

Cerner ProVision Review

Cerner ProVision PACs workstations are outfitted with customizable tools for image analysis and manipulation. In addition to 3D capabilities, the package includes orthopedic planning and mammography tools.

With ProVision PACS, you can continue to use your legacy modality and DICOM standards. You can also synchronize patient and study information between RIS and voice recognition modalities. The system was also designed to help increase operational performance, thanks to features such as an auto-launch option and a click-free workflow system.

Cerner’s ProVision PACS solution includes the Cerner ProVision Study Validation Server, which provides validation and synchronization of your patients’ demographic and exam data. Add in the image data, and you can get a full view of each patient’s record. Plus, you get seamless access to images that are housed in the EMR with Cerner’s ProVision Web access.

The Radiology Desktop feature displays all the critical information that the radiologist needs to know, and the interpretation tools are housed right on the desktop. There are also orthopedic planning tools that can help you to create a film-less environment. Additionally, Cerner ProVision PACS offers a mammography suite with a broad set of imaging tools specifically designed for handling images related to this procedure.

Cerner also operates a Vendor Neutral Archive (VNA) called CareAware Multimedia. This digital imagery archive allows physicians to manage multimedia such as images and video, and integrate them with your patients' Electronic Health Records. This is done to ensure that important information is available at all times, and that critical information is not isolated or disconnected from patient care. Cerner’s Vendor Neutral Archive can be deployed as a public or private cloud platform and can save costs for your practice on equipment storage and upkeep.

Cerner’s solutions provide clinicians with comprehensive products and services. Cerner is a full service provider that can deliver consulting on how to set up equipment, software and cloud services to create an efficient workflow at an affordable cost. Cerner’s PACS is also supported by learning services so that everyone involved in patient care can be quickly trained to use the PACS system. A practice or facility of any size can consider Cerner ProVision PACS as part of an overall care solution.

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Fujifilm Synapse Review

Fujifilm‘s picture archiving and communication software (PACS),Synapse, is a medical imaging and information management system that helps radiologists archive and distribute the vast amounts of image information that are handled by their offices each day.

Fujifilm’s Synapse PACS system uses Wavelet compression technology to produce on-demand compression for images. This means you and others in your practice can access large files quickly, and because the system is web-based, practitioners can access the information they need, no matter where they are.

Fujifilm built Synapse PACS to meet the many demands that are placed on a PACS systems. The software lets you pull and store images from multiple locations and systems. It can handle up to 1 million exams a year on multiple services and at multiple sites, with high quality and minimal errors. It also allows for data to travel from place to place, across the web, while maintaining its integrity within the system.

Synapse is built on the Microsoft Windows Server platform. Since this platform is made up of modules, different workstations can be configured for various functions. The Synapse system is also highly adaptable, as picture archiving and communication software must also be able to integrate with other technologies.

The system facilitates access from a wide range of technicians and reviewers and integrates with RIS systems and other software programs, which can help you create an efficient workflow. Synapse communications fosters this feature, which was developed specifically to help radiology labs communicate with other departments in a hospital or office environment, and to help simplify the peer review process. Communication throughout the workflow includes alerts as well as notes and task notes that can be attached to a patient’s file.

Fujifilm also supports a related RIS system, along with cloud services and teleradiology functions. Fujifilm offers full customer support for all of its products, with call centers, email capability and web-based help.

Fujifilm provides a cost-effective option for offices requiring PACS and RIS systems. As an innovation-focused company, Fujifilm is committed to the ongoing development of new technologies and offers frequent software releases and upgrades for its existing products, to ensure scalability and optimal operation over the long-term.

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GE Healthcare Review

GE Healthcare is a leader in radiology informatics, and the company’s Centricity PACS is a powerful unified workspace where radiologists and clinicians can collaborate with the goal of delivering better patient care.

GE's Universal Viewer for Centricity PACS and PACS-IW brings these two previously disjointed systems together. This means you can see 3D imaging next to 2D. Plus, you can also pull data from the patient record to see prior exams and other patient reports that may impact the radiologist’s opinion, and ultimately, the patient’s care.

This picture archiving and communication software system can also present advanced study layouts, show multiple presentation states and display variable-sized, asymmetrical windows along with copies of windows. The software also supports 3D reconstruction imaging.

Since the system runs from a central platform, data can be pulled together into a single patient file to help all aspects of a practice work efficiently and productively. This includes the ability to pull scheduling and billing information. GE Healthcare Centricity PACS also has the capacity to prioritize urgent cases and reconfigure schedules, which can minimize unexpected interruptions.

Centricity PACS can operate with your existing medical software systems, and it meets industry and organizational standards. The entire system is accessible through the Internet.

GE offers customer support with a series of programs designed to help you with everything from implementation to ongoing service. Consultants can help identify key workflow issues and select the correct workstations, they can also help with implementation of any upgrades or new installations. Additionally, these consultants can work closely with your office to develop a customized PACS system that works for your practice.

As you are installing your new PACS and related software, you can get your team trained on how to use this system. Centricity University provides all the education your staff will need, right online. Ongoing support includes software maintenance and dedicated support services if you experience problems or downtime.

GE Healthcare Centricity PACS offers dedicated customer service and different integration capabilities. Support and training from GE means that you will be able to take advantage of upgrades as they happen and gain access to new developments in software and hardware add-ons.

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McKesson Enterprise Image Repository Review

McKesson is among the oldest and largest health care services companies in the nation, providing more than half of the hospitals in the United States with software, distribution and business services.

The McKesson Enterprise Image Repository is a Vendor Neutral Archive (VNA) solution to archive, manage and deliver images and patient data. Through the McKesson system, you will not have to commit to a specific PACS system, instead you will be able to choose the exact PACS-style workflows that suit your needs.

The McKesson system is an archive storage platform that has scalable, open architecture and uses off-the-shelf hardware as its base. The system is built to be easily accessible by clinicians to create a single point of distribution for Electronic Medical Records (EMR). The company also intends their Enterprise Image Repository to be a pilot for the future of health care models where sharing and collaboration are the standard in delivering better patient care.

Using the McKesson Enterprise Image Repository, can save you money as it eliminates the expenses like hardware and operating costs commonly associated with image management. You get a centralized storage system for your imaging data, plus, you can reap the benefits of the scalability that investing in a single system like this one offers.

The McKesson Enterprise Image Repository System Dashboard reports on the system's connectivity, archive and cache storage capacity so that you can see how the system is working at all times.

You can also elect to pay for retention management, an add-on that helps you manage legal liabilities associated with storing patient data. You can set the retention and purge rules that your data should follow so that your information is protected in the event of a legal case. You can also can determine which studies to delete based on the rules you set.

McKesson’s solution to PACS is one that creates a culture around shared knowledge. McKesson maintains a community for imaging customers, so you can connect with peers to exchange knowledge and discuss imaging solutions. 

McKesson’s Enterprise Image Repository offers your office with an alternative to some more common PACS systems that are more proprietary or that require more of an investment. Overall, it is a cost-effective solution for large, enterprise-level health care organizations.

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Medicor Imaging Review

Medicor Imaging, a division of LEAD Technologies, was created to provide fast, advanced solutions for DICOM technology, including picture archiving and communications software (PACS). The company offers a range of products and support for the rapidly changing field of medical imaging.

The Medicor Imaging MiPACS Storage Server provides a storage place for all radiology and medical DICOM images and objects. This server is versatile and offers modules so that you only purchase the amount of server power and modality you need. However, you can always add on as your needs change, or your practice grows.

The MiPACS Storage Server is easy to install and has an intuitive interface. This server also provides your office with features like redundancy storage, to keep your backed up data safe. It also boasts a powerful Microsoft SQL Server. All data is DICOM formatted, so you never have to worry about incompatible or proprietary formats, and the server fully supports DICOM objects, tags and media. There is also compression support for lossy and lossless JPEG and JPEG2000 formats, along with support for uncompressed images.

Medicor Imaging’s MiPACS Storage Server system lets you grant access to multiple professionals, and you can set up different permissions configurations depending on the access needs of each person. There are also a number of add-on modules you can purchase to add certain functions to the system. For example, you can choose to add the DICOM router to set up automated actions, like forwarding data to a specific workstation or to an on-call radiologist.

The Modality Worklist add-on helps you manage electronic health records and radiology information systems that provide patient order and demographic data. The system’s MiPACS HTML5 Web Viewer allows you to access stored data from any web portal. It requires no installation and is compatible with any HTML5-compiant web browser.

Overall, this program provides you with greater access to patient images through servers and web interfaces, so that radiologists can be more productive and efficient during their day-to-day operations. The Medicor Imaging MiPACS Storage Server can help you achieve more control over data in your office, can grow with your practice and offers a level of security that will help you in the long-term.

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Novarad NovaPACS Review

Novarad Enterprise Imaging Solutions was created by radiologists to develop products ideally suited for the field. NovaPACS is part of a suite of from Novarad that are designed to provide picture archiving and communications capabilities for a medical office environment.

NovaPACS has a fully-customizable interface, along with easily-accessible, advanced features. Plus, ongoing support and development add reliability to the system.

Since it is completely web-based, NovaPACS uses a high level streaming technology, combined with imaging algorithms and proprietary methods, for distributing large data sets. This program is coupled with completely scalable, full-featured viewers. With this interface, each user can set up their own toolbars and hot keys, and those settings will be in place anywhere they access the web-based system.

Images and reports are available at any time and are accessible from anywhere. As files are reviewed, practitioners can add dictation and voice notes to the NovaPACS system and attach notes directly to the patient file. Files are transmitted through Novarad’s proprietary system and are made accessible through industry standard protocols.

Storage is key for PACS systems, and NovaPACS maintains high storage and archiving standards. The system makes three copies of each image – two are available online and a third is stored off-site so that if your system is ever damaged, or disaster hits your facility, you will still be able to pull patient records. NovaPACS supports ongoing software development, so the system you purchase now will be compatible with new versions of existing software you use, and it will be ready to integrate with new programs as they emerge.

Novarad provides ongoing support for its products and offers tech support any time of the day or night through its Utah-based office. The company maintains a strong support record and very low downtime for its client base.

Novarad is very engaged with the radiology community and maintains a strong commitment to the field and to the technology it supports. The company prides itself on developing world-class products that are priced fairly for use throughout the industry, with a focus on providing radiologists with the tools needed to deliver the best patient care possible. Consider this system if your practice requires a scalable, user-friendly system that can grow and change with the marketplace.

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OnePacs Review

OnePacs makes PACS and teleradiology systems for hospitals, imaging centers and teleradiology groups. The technology helps medical offices manage their radiology images, including incoming orders for images. The program can also help you store and distribute images in-house and over your network.

OnePacs integrates your office workflow and your systems. OnePacs web server provides a central data point for all the functionality of this picture archiving and communications software. The server provides redundant storage, so that there is always real-time backup for your data.

With this system, a requesting physician can order a study, and the PACS server will accept the request, and start a workflow. The powerful work list management system compiles requests, and it can display a workflow and capacity analysis for the entire office at any given time.

Patient data can be attached to the request, along with the patient record, to help move the data through the process in-office. Along the way, data is attached to the file for billing and insurance purposes. Once the study is completed, the OnePacs system alerts the radiologist, who can then read the report, deliver diagnostics or seek additional opinions or studies if needed. Finally, the patient’s file and images can be updated and sent to the requesting physician and stored on the server for archival use.

OnePacs’ PACS system offers superior imaging processing and integration with RIS/HL-7. It integrates with data analytics software and works with billing management data as required. OnePacs meets DICOM standards, IHE standards and HIPAA guidelines. It is compatible with both Windows and MAC systems.

OnePacs is scalable and can be configured for a variety of radiology business types, from small practices to large hospitals. The pricing scales depending on the functionality you require, so you will never have to pay for more functionality than you need.

OnePacs also features an on-call support team that can assist with problems as needed. Online support includes a manual, an extensive FAQs area and a user community.

OnePacs is a basic PACS system for use in hospitals and other health care offices. It provides scalable costs for your office, and the company provides technical support, making it a solid option to consider for your practice.

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OsiriX Review

OsiriX is an open source image processing software compatible with DICOM images. OsiriX functions as a DICOM PACS workstation for imaging and image processing software for medical research, functional imaging, 3D imaging and more.

The OsiriX imaging software’s advanced open-source PACS workstation DICOM viewer is available for download from the OsiriX website. The software is MAC-based, making it a viable option if you have an iOS system.

The OsiriX site will help you build a PACS network and a central PACS server from scratch, as it includes specific hardware recommendations. In order to use this system properly, you will need a server to store radiological image files, and your computers must be properly configured on your network, before you start using your DICOM viewer. With its included recommendations, this program can help make sure you have all of the pieces in order for the software to run properly.

OsiriX is a do-it-yourself answer for anyone who needs PACS capability. You can get step-by-step instructions on setting up hardware and software. This is helpful for IT departments charged with setting up an in-office or intra-office network. It is also a DIY project for radiologists who want to set up a home or office network for greater work flexibility.

You can get instructions on setting up the OsiriX PACS server using OsiriX MD or OsiriX 64-bit for performance, then you set up OsiriX as a PACS Client or DICOM viewer. Finally, you set up the capability to exchange images between OsiriX PACS servers and OsiriX clients.

While some companies offer PACS systems with a high degree of functionality and integration, there are times when all you need is a very simple system. A system like this is particularly helpful if you are setting up remote stations for emergencies or temporary locations for special events. OsiriX delivers a system that will work for these situations as long as you have the hardware and connectivity capabilities ready to go.

Once the server and OsiriX DICOM viewer are installed and running, an unlimited number of viewers can see the same image simultaneously. OsiriX maintains downloads of its most recent software on the site, allowing access to these programs at any time. You will also find JPEG2000 PACS, as well.

While most large practices may not want to approach installing a PACS system with this type of do-it-yourself approach, the OsiriX solution can be the right program for some offices, especially if you have an in-house IT department or some technical know-how.

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RamSoft Review

RamSoft is a leading software and services company that develops innovative medical imaging products and other related solutions for the healthcare industry. RamSoft has developed several PACS systems: PowerServer PACS, PowerServer Lite PACS, and PowerServer XU PACS. They each provide a wide range of options for picture archiving and communications software for radiology practices.

RamSoft’s PACS solutions feature a built-in workflow engine that allows you track a patient's status from start to finish. There is a lot of freedom built into the system, so you are not limited to a certain number of workstations, work lists, or licenses. You buy the program that works for you and develop a purchase and hosting model that fits in best with your practice. The system is completely web-based, so you do not need a VPN or Citrix-based web server to use the RamSoft modules. RamSoft PACS are built with security in mind, and they are HIPAA compliant. All of RamSoft's PACS software works fluidly with the company's RIS software, so it creates a smooth experience for patients and staff.

The company's main, full-featured PACS system is the RamSoft PowerServer. It provides a full-service PACS solution, including viewing, storage, distribution, reporting and dictation. This program also includes redundant server software.

PowerServer Lite provides viewing, storage and image distribution features, but does not offer reporting and dictation. It is a good choice for supporting your day-to-day operations. It is fully compliant with industry standards and helps you deliver excellent patient care.

PowerServer XU offers a web-based PACS with all attributes and functionality of the main PowerServer PACS system. It can support general radiography, fluoroscopy, angiogram, bone density and ultrasound studies.

RamSoft provides a wide array of services to help you select the product that is right for your practice now and that will still serve you in the future. You can work with support assistants to select and finance the best option, and the company can also help you perform a workflow analysis to see where you need additional workstations or better equipment. The customer support team can help with all aspects of choosing and setting up your PACS system, from your first enquiry to training your staff once you have already implemented your system.

RamSoft offers several PACS systems with varying functionalities, so you can select the one that is best for your practice, staff and patients.

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Sectra Review

Sectra offers an integrated RIS/PACS system that provides radiology labs with imaging features and solutions to help improve service. This program was carefully designed to improve workflow in order to enhance efficiency and productivity in your office.

Sectra PACS helps radiologists work efficiently from a single workstation. The PACS houses efficient planning tools and provides overviews that reduce waiting times for patients and radiologists, all while supporting accurate diagnostics.

Beyond just a simple image storage system, Sectra's workstation promotes positive workflow for every user in the chain. This way, the office is set up to meet standards of excellence on all levels, and every clinician has access to the data they need, when they need it. Workstations feature viewing screens as well as microphones that can activate an automatic speech recognition software that allows you to add dictation to a set of data.

Sectra PACS is also designed to work well in a data-intense environment, meaning images will not bog the system down, no matter how large the image set is. In additional to delivering clear imaging, Sectra PACS offers a tool that renders images in 3D.

Sectra's picture archiving and communications software includes a variety of specialized workstations -- specifically designed to accommodate the special needs of radiologists, referring physicians and mammography radiologists. The program even includes a specific QA workstation.

Sectra offers its core PACS product along with a suite of additional add-ons, services, support and training to ease your transition to the system. Depending on the specialties your office supports, you can opt to add functionalities specific to cardiology, iodontology and virtual colposcopy. Additional modules include media export capabilities, so you can provide patients with a CD that contains their imaging, or you can send images to another doctor electronically. You can also use the Sectra PACS system to host multi-disciplinary team meetings and teaching files for peer review.

Because Sectra began as a research community, the company is focused on providing innovations and fostering collaborative relationships with customers to develop products and solutions that improve your patients’ quality of care.

Sectra provides a high-quality system that functions as part of the company's larger offering. The Sectra PACS system delivers a high degree of functionality and extras to facilitate image storage and communication for radiology services. This PACS system would work well for almost any size practice, hospital or research institution. 

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