Technology | May 26, 2010

Cloud-Based PACS Create a New Business Model

May 26, 2010 - Cloud-based services, including access to picture archive and communication systems (PACS), are creating a new paradigm for users as well as creating a new business model.

A cloud environment enables ubiquitous access to programs, reduces the dependence on the users' bandwidth and computer power, and eliminates the danger of obsolescence.

Cloud computing networks a set of virtual servers working in tandem over the internet. Applications are stored in large data centers, and are easily accessible through the Internet.

"With healthcare providers looking at automating processes at lower cost and higher gains, cloud computing can act as an ideal platform in the health care IT space. hospitals could share infrastructure with vast number of systems linked together for reducing cost and increasing efficiency. This also means real-time availability of patient information for doctors, nursing staff and other support services not within the country but possibly across various countries," reported Frost & Sullivan.(1)

Carestream Health is one of the early adopters of cloud-based computing for PACS. Carestream eHealth Managed Services (eMS) is a portfolio of cloud-based, fee-for-use services that includes eHealth PACS Services. The company will demonstrate the service at at the annual meeting of the Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine (SIIM) being held June 3-6 in Minneapolis.

eHealth PACS Services delivers all the functionality of PACS, such as image management, viewing, distribution and storage, while lowering users’ total cost of ownership by reducing their investment in capital equipment, security technology and management personnel. The new eHealth PACS Service is available in the United States and other selected countries across Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Health care providers can connect to secure, remote data centers hosted and managed by Carestream Health. Patient information can be shared with authorized physicians over an Internet connection without the need to build, maintain and upgrade a complex infrastructure.

This service enables remote reading for a primary diagnosis, as well as the ability to obtain a second opinion from another radiologist or specialist. The PACS service is an operating expense with a monthly fee based on the number of imaging exams produced each month.
The first health care provider to sign up for this service is a Netherlands-based group with three hospitals. They will use the service to deliver an enterprise wide PACS solution for their three sites and to provide secure image access to remote clinicians.

This cloud-based service is designed to eliminate the danger of obsolescence as data centers and on-site technology are continuously maintained and upgraded. Patient data and exam information are synchronized so identical information is available to all users, regardless of location.

An optional feature allows users to access advanced reading tools such as native 3-D features and automatic registration of volumetric exams provided by the company’s innovative PowerViewer. The vendor-neutral infrastructure, which is the engine of the company’s eHealth Managed Services platform, also allows the sharing of information among disparate systems.

For more information:

1. Frost & Sullivan. "Cloud Computing in Healthcare." June 24, 2008.

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