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Medical Image Management, PACS Adoption Rises in Hospitals

PACS is expected to lead as the first choice for medical image management solutions, according to recent market research.

medical image management

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- Hospitals and health systems are increasingly adopting medical image management and PACS tools to meet growing demand for infrastructure solutions that can store and process imaging data.

As advancements in diagnostic imaging technology and emerging machine learning techniques put pressure on legacy systems, the medical image management market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.7 percent through 2023, according to a recent Markets and Markets report.  

The growth of big data, investment in imaging solutions by smaller hospitals, and increased EHR adoption are also contributing factors to the growth.

Despite increased popularity of vendor neutral archives (VNAs), picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) are still expected to dominate the medical image management market.

“Factors such as technological advancements in PACS; adoption of PACS in new imaging segments such as endoscopy, ophthalmology, mammography, and oncology; growing adoption of PACS by small hospitals and imaging centers; and government initiatives encouraging healthcare IT adoption are driving the growth of the PACS segment,” said the report.  

PACs and VNAs are both used to store and manage imaging data, but VNAs give clinicians the option to view multiple patient images from multiple departments at the same time. Viewing images this way saves time because the clinician doesn’t need to log into and out of different PACS interfaces.

PACS technology is not as advanced as VNA technology but updating an existing PACS is less of an undertaking than adopting a VNA.

A Grand View Research report released earlier this year came to a similar conclusion about the medical image management market, predicting the market to grow at a CAGR of 8.1 percent through 2024.

“Growing adoption of ultrasound imaging systems to facilitate faster diagnosis, particularly of chronic diseases, is expected to propel demand. In addition, continuous developments in the field of imaging technology, such as computer-aided diagnosis (CAD), is anticipated to bolster demand for these platforms,” said the Grand View report.

Both reports concluded that hospitals would be the leading end users for medical image management solutions.

When selecting a PACS, organization should consult with vendors to see what each PACS vendor offers.  A recent KLAS Research found that many organizations chose a big-name vendor simply because they had a large customer base and were well-known in the industry, which may leave organizations with a system that does not necessarily meet their needs.

“In a market previously dominated by a few large players, small niche vendors are now beginning to stand out,” the KLAS report stated. “Former leaders are struggling to meet expectations, mergers and acquisitions have introduced complications, and larger organizations are looking for PACS vendors that can meet their enterprise imaging expectations.”

Considering all PACS solutions and not just the big names can give organizations the support they need. Communication and support from PACS vendors can give organizations more control over their solutions, giving clinicians quick access to patient images.  


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