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Standards > PACS

Picture Archiving and Communications System, or PACS is a digital image standard, used increasingly in medicine. A basic level standard, it is often in place before more advanced standards like DICOM. PACS is designed so images such as X-rays and other scans are stored digitally, rather than physically. This means that doctors and other health professionals can access all patient scans, and compare/contrast with previous scans at the touch of a button. No waiting, no scans lost en-route, or unavailable as they are with the hospital/GP.

The simple act of digitising patient data safely, is still being undertaken by hospitals, and a PACS system in place, streamlines the allowance of more advanced VR techniques later on. Even just the ability to free up storage space in hospitals, from hundreds of thousands of archived X-rays, is a massive achievement for many institutions.

The UK national Health Service (NHS), is one of the leading advocates of PACS, dedicating itself to digitising every hospital in the country, by 2008.

Ultimately, NHS PACS will be tightly integrated with the NHS Care Record Service (CRS), allowing doctors to access patient information, and all relevant images, from one single source - regardless of where in the country the scans, or consultation took place.

Image compatibility

PACS will deal with a wide range of specialities including X-rays, radiotherapy, CT, MRI, nuclear medicine, angiography, cardiology, fluoroscopy, ultrasound, dental and symptomatic mammography.

References

Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS), Tuesday, 03 October 2006
http://www.connectingforhealth.nhs.uk/pacs

UK Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS) and Teleradiology special interest group, Tuesday, 03 October 2006
http://www.pacsgroup.org.uk/cgi-bin/forum/discus.cgi

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