PACS in the x-ray imaging market refers to picture archiving and communication system. It is a medical imaging technology which involves the storage of electronic images and their transmission to various workstations via electronic means. The process of PACS includes the following steps:
- Medical images from the source (x-ray machines) are sent to the quality assurance workstation using the process of digital imaging and communications in medicine (DICOM)
- Images from the workstation are archived on the basis of attributes such as patients, disease segments (cardiovascular, dental, etc.)
- The final step is bi-directional in nature. The digital images are sent to remote workstations. These remote workstations analyze the images and send them back to the archives for storage.
The implementation of PACS in the world of x-ray devices will prove to be a boon to the x-ray devices market, especially the digital x-ray devices segment. A market research study, published by a U.S.-based firm Transparency Market Research (http://www.transparencymarketresearch.com/), suggests that the recent rise in the adoption rate of PACS will serve the digital x-ray devices market as a significant impact rendering growth driver. According to the firm’s estimates, the global digital x-ray systems market is the fastest growing segment of the overall x-ray devices market and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.6% from 2012 to 2018, in comparison to the analog x-ray systems market which is set to experience a sluggish growth rate of 1.4% during the aforementioned period.
The following factors have been identified to be important in driving the future success of PACS:
- PACS offers a cost advantage to the customers as it directly eliminates the use and storage of x-ray films or hard copies of medical images
- PACS enables the process of sending these medical images to practitioners spread across different geographic locations. This is a very important feature offered by PACS, as it helps in transferring the medical image of a patient from a remote location to hospitals with sophisticated medical infrastructure for better and effective diagnostic purposes.
- PACS acts as an interface between medical x-ray images and automation systems such as radiology information systems, hospital information systems, electronic medical records and others. This helps hospitals in the following ways:
- Electronic storage and inter branch sharing of radiological images
- Maintenance of patient specific databases of radiological images to keep track of a patient’s medical history
Furthermore, the introduction of portable and digital x-ray systems will perfectly suit the changing dynamics of the healthcare industry in terms of nascent markets, such as home healthcare. This will help accelerate overall growth of the x-ray systems market in the future.