How well do you know your medical imaging history?
Modern Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS) provide seamless integration between Radiology Information Systems (RIS) and digital mammography, and allow for immediate access to patient images. But advanced medical imaging technology wasn’t perfected overnight—or even over the course of several years.
Four decades ago, early digital radiology pioneers began paving the road to PACS, according to an Imaging Economics article on medical imaging history.
Take a look back on the history of medical imaging and PACS as we know it today:
Early 1970s: At the University of Arizona, Dr. M. Paul Capp and Sol Nudelman, PhD, organize a digital imaging group that works to develop the first digital subtraction angiography (DSA) device—the first clinical application of digitally derived images.
Mid 1970s: Professor Jean-Raoul Scherrer pioneers a medical information display system at the Geneva University Hospitals in Switzerland, which would have broad implications for later PACS development. The system, called DIOGENE, collects and displays patient information on computer monitors. A bank of telephone operators would type in information that would show up on the screens.
1976: The University of Arizona medical imaging group unveils its digital imaging device. A French company provides backing to build a commercial prototype, which takes another 2-3 years.
1979: Professor Heinz Lamke, PhD, at the Technical University of Berlin publishes a paper on applied image processing and computer graphic methods in a study of head CT scans. In that paper, he describes a modern PACS, with all the components including an interface to a hospital information system.
1982: Dr. Andre Duerinckx and Samuel J. Dwyer III, PhD, organize a landmark PACS conference in Los Angeles, which is attended by more than 400 radiologists, researchers and vendors. Among topics discussed is the idea of linking all the modalities into a single digital imaging network.
1982-1983: At the University of Kansas, Dwyer oversees what may have been the construction of the first PACS. The system includes CT, ultrasound and a film digitizer for plain film. The workstations are slow and low-resolution, but have the ability to acquire, transmit and archive.
1989-1990: At UCLA, H.K. “Bernie” Huang forms a medical imaging division under the radiology sciences department to look into PACS. The team creates and deploys a PACS in pediatric radiology that is based on the use of CR plates to digitize images. A computer board decodes the digital information on the CR tapes, which allows X-rays to be displayed on the PACS monitors.
Early to Mid 1990s: Manufacturers work diligently to develop commercial PACS hardware and software.
Today: PACS improve workflow and productivity within and between radiology and cardiac departments, and eliminate communication barriers between departments and facilities. Modern systems provide enterprise access and utilization tools that are the backbone of the imaging department. Hospitals seamlessly integrate digital mammography and Radiology Information Systems (RIS) into their PACS.