Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS)
Contact Us: (632) 723-0101 ext. 5420
The future of radiologic imaging
Time was when a patient walked from a radiological exam carrying the black and white image (X-ray, CT, or MRI pictures) of his body under his arm and doctors had to go to the different imaging departments to view patients' films. Due to the emergence of electronic patient records, this picture now belongs to the past. Advanced digitalization enables user-friendly management, storage, retrieval and viewing of every patient’s relevant clinical images.
St. Luke’s Medical Center offers the Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS), a system that allows a patient's examination images to be stored or archived in computers. Used in conjunction with Diagnostic X-ray, Ultrasound, Computed Tomography (CT), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Nuclear Medicine (SPECT and PET) and Cardiac Catheterization Lab. PACS allows doctors to retrieve these images with a touch of a button from the doctor's office or residence, hospital or anywhere in the world. The images are always ready to be transmitted or referred to whenever the need arises. The system is able to store up to one terabyte of high quality diagnostic images for short-term archive (on-line cases) and six terabytes for long term archive.
Before the advent of PACS, scanned images were stored in film that deteriorated with time. With PACS, a patient undergoes an imaging modality and images from this scan are automatically stored in a mirror server. Old scans are simply offloaded from the universal manager that keeps patients’ files online and are then stored in compact discs in what looks like a “jukebox library.” These images are easily accessed for future use. It provides physicians with reliable, simple and rapid access to a patient’s examination for diagnostic interpretation both in the institution and at remote sites.
More importantly for the physician and the patient, PACS allows the doctor to manipulate the images on his/her computer to look for and find any abnormality among the thousands of images provided by a single imaging procedure for a particular patient. This powerful tool gives St. Luke's physicians a huge advantage over physicians in other hospitals, giving them the ability to come up with an earlier and more accurate diagnosis of patient's illness.
The PACS is also equipped with other tools for better interpretation of images. You can play still images of sections much like in the movies and these can come with a voice clip of the radiologist’s findings. Portions of the image can be measured and/or magnified.