PACS and EHR Adoption


PACS and EHR AdoptionWhat does a PACS have to do with an EHR?

According to this article from, quite a lot.

The article reminds us that the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) has characterized seven stages of healthcare information technology adoption, from having digital laboratory, radiology and pharmacy systems (Stage 1) to fully electronic medical records with full digital communication with a PACS and a clinical data repository (CDR) (Stage 7).

According to HIMSS, adopting an EHR system isn’t enough. It eventually has to be integrated into a medical facility’s entire operation. Having a PACS that is compatible with the EHR is a crucial step because it allows for images to be seen on demand in all parts of the facility, not just radiology. Healthcare facilities that integrate their PACS with their EHRs are at Stage 4 of healthcare information technology adoption.

The article notes that because of stimulus funds, adoption of EHRs is on the rise. But it also notes that very few healthcare facilities – only 0.3 percent in 2008 – are at Stage 7, and many only have a simple EHR system and electronic prescription order entries . For PACS suppliers, then, there’s a big market out there. And in 10 years, when a majority of healthcare facilities will be past Stage 4 of health information technology adoption, there will be an equally big market for PACS upgrades and replacements.

What’s after Stage 7? HIMSS has not created a Stage 8 yet, but if it does, it will most likely include voice recognition technology, radio frequency identification (to locate equipment quickly), and maybe even new technologies that help medical personnel manage complicated treatments.

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