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Successful PACS Vendors Support Customers, Embrace Advancements

KLAS Research's latest PACS vendors report highlights Sectra, Carestream, and INFINITT among others as companies that provide proactive support for customers.

PACS vendors

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- Healthcare organizations are reassessing their picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) as newer vendors begin to stand out and expand. PACS vendors embracing provider demands may be more successful in the future as health IT infrastructure continues to develop to support new initiatives.

KLAS Research issued its annual PACS report, interviewing thousands of healthcare professionals about how their organization uses PACS and the how stakeholders evaluate their products and services.

PACS is a medical imaging technology that stores images in a what that allows users to conveniently access them.

“In a market previously dominated by a few large players, small niche vendors are now beginning to stand out,” the 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.”

The report highlights the highest and lowest performing vendors across large hospitals, community hospitals, and imaging centers.

For large hospitals, Sectra, Carestream, and INFINITT came out on top for overall score. Users rated Sectra highly based on its usability, functionality, and interoperability with other health IT infrastructure solutions. Sectra also received high scores in customer service and its ability to quickly resolve issues.

Users also reported that Carestream and INFINITT performed well for large hospitals. Organizations surveyed said that Carestream is proactive about finding and solving issues. Respondents added that Carestream has improved significantly over the past several years.

Users stated that INFINITT provided quick and successful customer support. INFINITT is a newer PAC system, but its customization and functionality were praised by customers.

The report also highlighted GE Healthcare and the misconceptions often surrounding it. Many organizations choose GE Healthcare because of name recognition. However, many customers reported dissatisfaction with how long it takes to resolve issues and noted GE’s more passive approach to solving problems.

The report found that Carestream had the least number of respondents planning to leave the solution in favor of another vendor. GE Healthcare Centricity PACS and GE Healthcare Centricity PACS-IW had the most respondents planning to leave, considering leaving, or stuck and would leave if they had the option.

INFINITT, Carestream, and Sectra also performed well in the community hospital space, but were joined by McKesson in this category.

McKesson users reported that they look forward to updates because they improve the PAC system in the ways they are looking for it to be improved. McKesson also provides users with a responsive support team. However, users also reported that McKesson can be expensive compared to other providers who offer the same level of support.

Merge PACS was also highlighted in the report as being one of the most developed PAC systems for community hospitals. However, users commented that its upgrades were poor and inconsistent.

Many organizations stick with their Merge PACS because its stable and easy to use, which give users hope that the PAC system will improve with time to meet growing demands.

Imaging centers chose Sectra as their top rated PACS for many of the same reasons both large and community hospitals chose them. INFINITT and McKesson were also rated highly.

Organizations are looking for newer, more innovative PAC systems and are seeing the flaws in the older and more established vendors. Overall, organizations are considering leaving certain vendors if their customer service needs are not met.

Entities also prefer PACS vendors that are proactive about updates and listen to what the customer needs to ensure that each upgrade is worth the time it takes update.

Providers are happy with the solutions that offer open communication and have promise for the future as medical imaging technology continues to grow.

Organizations with plans for using images and other unstructured data for future analytics initiatives need to have a PAC system that is fully supported and adaptable. Vendors that provide satisfactory and consistent updates to their PACS will be more appealing to organizations over the coming years.