PACS Server

What is a PACS Server?

PACS servers are an essential component of a type of clinical IT system called PACS – Picture Archiving and Communication System. The hardware and software components of PACS acquire digital images from PACS imaging modalities (such as ultrasound, CT, MRI, and radiography), store them into the DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine) file format, and transfer them to workstations where they can be accessed and reviewed.

A PACS server provides storage for the database of these DICOM files. DICOM also signifies the universal transmission protocol for PACS systems, enabling the archiving, retrieval, and distribution of DICOM files.

Given that PACS imaging is able to be integrated not only with Radiology Information Systems (RIS), but with Hospital Information Systems (HIS), Electronic Medical Records (EMR), and Practice Management Software (PMS), PACS in medical imaging is steadily becoming the norm as an increasing number of hospitals are beginning to implement it beyond their radiology departments.

Some of the most crucial components of PACS systems include:

  • A local PACS server, the main hardware component of PACS systems, providing storage for archiving images and related documents.

  • Modalities – radiology imaging devices, such as computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound, nuclear medicine, and positron emission tomography (PET).

  • Workstations, also called PACS gateways.

  • A computer network connecting the system components.

While PACS systems initially consisted of local PACS servers, recently there has been an increase of PACS systems with cloud-based PACS servers. A prime example of this is PostDICOM. This optimizes the PACS system even further with regard to archiving capacity, cost effectiveness, data security, and data accessibility, and eliminates the need for on-premises PACS servers within hospitals and other institutions and practices employing medical imaging.

PostDICOM acts as a cloud-based PACS server, enabling DICOM files to be stored in the cloud while preserving the functions of regular PACS systems relying on local servers. Images obtained from any PACS radiology imaging method (e.g., ultrasound, MRI, CT, or radiography) are stored into the DICOM format with any related documents in PDF, JPG, BMP and AVI within the cloud environment.

Our state-of-the-art PostDICOM system provides 50GB of free cloud space, with the option of expanding the storage space by opting for a paid subscription to the service. No time limit is imposed on the stored data as it remains in the cloud for as long as the uploader’s account is active. All the data is stored and retrieved securely as any system vulnerabilities are prevented by taking the highest level of safety precautions.

Who uses PACS Servers?

PACS servers are used by radiologists and medical doctors in hospitals, research institutions, clinics, and increasingly in smaller practices. They are often used in conjunction with another type of clinical IT system – RIS (Radiology Information System) – as a fast and convenient way of scheduling patients, tracking and interpreting examinations, and billing.

Although the usage of PACS has been primarily within radiology, its application has been steadily expanding to other medical fields such as cardiology, oncology, nuclear medicine, radiotherapy, neurology, orthopedics, ophthalmology, dentistry, dermatology, pathology, veterinary medicine, and clinical research.

PostDICOM is used by medical professionals with diverse specializations – radiologists, cardiologists, nuclear imaging specialists, biomedical researchers, as well as professors, students, and patients alike for secure storage, retrieval, and exchange of medical imaging data.

Benefits of a PACS Server

PACS has become an integral component of radiology departments and practices because of its ability to simplify and speed up the management of medical imaging archives, improve workflow, and increase productivity. It is the modern, digital equivalent of the previously standard paper and film based archiving, eliminating the need for conducting processes such as dark room processing, film storage, and film copying. The time efficiency and convenience of PACS systems makes them a logical and desirable upgrade for any medical practices still relying on rigid physical archiving and image processing systems. The usage of PACS in radiology will only continue to grow as the complete digitization of the field, as is happening with many other specialties, becomes inevitable.

Some of the benefits of PACS servers include:

  • Reduced costs – Digital storage is significantly less expensive than storage needed for hard-copy films. Its continuously decreasing prices make PACS a far more cost-effective system along with the huge advantage in terms of storage space over traditional film archives.

  • Faster workflow – PACS servers eliminate the need for manual filing, retrieval, and transport of folders. Faster image retrieval and the ability to access the images remotely help radiologists to work at a much quicker pace. The digital transmission of medical imaging improves patient care by enabling distance education and telediagnosis, and accelerating peer review, consultation, and diagnosis.

  • More organized and convenient management of patient data – All patient information can be reached through a single point of access as images are integrated into the hospital information systems.

  • Improved image analysis – Sophisticated diagnostic monitors with enhanced resolution and functions enable clearer visualization of images in comparison to the traditional viewing of images on light boxes.

With the recent development of cloud-based PACS such as postDICOM, all of these benefits can be enhanced even further. By transferring the system to the cloud, costs are lowered, and also because the on-premises hardware and its maintenance are no longer required. Remote access is made available to anyone with an internet connection willing to set up an account, and communication between doctors and their peers as well as patients is further facilitated.

The benefits of working with soft-copy and viewing images on computer screens seem quite self-evident when opposed to relying on paper and film-based procedures and reading images on light boxes. As the adoption of filmless departments gains further momentum, the digitization of medical imaging is likely to become ubiquitous, and the transfer to cloud-based systems like PostDICOM the next logical step.

Notebook PostDICOM Viewer

Free Online DICOM Viewer and Cloud PACS

Upload DICOM images and clinical documents to PostDICOM servers. Store, view, collaborate, and share your medical imaging files.