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What is PACS?

In medical imaging, Picture Archive and Communication Systems are dedicated to the electronic storage, retrieval, distribution and presentation of medical images in a format and quality suitable for clinical diagnosis and review.

PACS handle images from various medical imaging instruments, including ultrasound, magnetic resonance, PET/CT, computed tomography, endoscopy, mammograms and plain film X-rays. PACS replaces the hard-copy based means of managing medical images, such as x-ray film archives.


PACS has the following functions:

  • Allows the transfer of images throughout a Hospital or region;
  • Provides images to a variety of users simultaneously;
  • Allows quick retrieval of historical examinations;
  • Provides a permanent central store of images;
  • Provides advanced image processing tools to clinical staff where required.

Like all other technology, PACS has continued to evolve over the past 20 years. In recent years the main areas of development have been around improved user interfaces and functionality; web-based services, and improved availability and integration of 3D image processing packages.


Back to NIMIS: PACS/RIS Explained