Medical Imaging Blog

Are You Asking Your PACS to Perform a Herculean Task?

Herculean Burden of PACS Data Storage

21st century PACS systems are managing massive amounts of specialized medical imaging data and PACS (picture archiving and communication system) must be designed to support health care organizations of all sizes and complexity.

Medical imaging demand and growth is driving a colossal craving for network capacity and data storage.

Gearing up for Mammoth Data

Weighing down most healthcare systems is the administration and cost of storing this immense data created by their PACS. As reported in Healthcare Informatics, New York-based Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), a major academic medical center and cancer research institution, must contend with the enormous increase of electronic data that, for the purpose of patient care and research, needs to be stored over the long term.

MSKCC is gearing up for the arrival of mammoth amounts of genomic data, according Patricia C. Skarulis, vice president and CIO.

DNA sequence data will be processed by Memorial Sloan-Kettering in its laboratories and will be saved at every step of the way; the sequences themselves are getting faster and bigger. As a research institution, “all of the data is extremely valuable,” Skarulis said. “We are going to the next generation of sequencers, and they will put out a huge amount of data, which we need to save,” Skarulis added.

Reaching a Tipping Point for Storage Capacity

Driving the growth, in part, is pathology medical imaging, which now takes up to two gigabytes per slide. Accounting for similar growth are dermatology images, which have progressed from the use of a single-lens reflex camera to using a bank of cameras set up in an enclosure.

“Resolutions are much higher, and you are storing many more images,” says David Barry, MSKCC’s manager of storage. He estimates that storage requirements have quadrupled for that modality, and the images will be kept for the life of the patient.

“We are at a tipping point, where we are growing faster than the storage is improving in capacity,” warns Skarulis.

Reducing Escalating Image Management

Helping to meet vital medical imaging data storage needs, McKesson PACS solutions provide a better way to archive, manage and deliver medical imaging data without requiring a great deal of resources and without locking healthcare systems into a specific archive solution. Providing a single larger storage platform for all image data, McKesson Enterprise Image Repository reduces the escalating, image management related expenditures including hardware and operating costs through system consolidation.

What PACS storage issues is your organization facing?

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