UW Embraces a Next-Generation Picture Archiving and Communication System

On October 16, 2023, the UW Department of Radiology successfully deployed a new Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS). A PACS is a collection of hardware, databases and software that provides the infrastructure for storing, transmitting, viewing, and managing the medical imaging data of an enterprise. Executive leadership, department of radiology faculty and trainees, radiology IT, enterprise IT, and vendor personnel worked tirelessly in supporting our implementation, migration, training and go-live implementation.  

A graph depicting radiologists satisfaction of new PACS system versus old PACS system.  Testing and feedback from users in radiology and outside of the department has been positive, showing an increase in productivity. Radiologist feedback shows a tremendous improvement in perception of the PACS with all respondents now rating the PACS as “Good” or “Excellent.” Radiologists also note that PACS makes their day more enjoyable and more likely to recommend UW as an employer. 

The next generation PACS marks a significant milestone in the evolution of medical imaging and healthcare delivery at UW. Using cloud hosting and streaming technologies, images can be opened in a fraction of the time previous PACS needed and with a fraction of the network traffic. Advanced visualization and reconstructions of imaging data is handled on cloud provider servers with GPU acceleration resulting in easy scalability and fast results. With the increased speed and more advanced functionality of this new system, healthcare providers can deliver more timely and accurate care, ultimately improving patient outcomes. The PACS system go-live is not just a technological upgrade but a transformative shift toward a more efficient, extensible and powerful platform to benefit our providers, patients and community. 

This program was implemented by Nathan M. Cross, MD, MS, CIIP, Vice Chair of Informatics, Department of Radiology; Susan Rajan, MBA, IT Director of Diagnostics and Therapeutic Applications; and Dushyant Sahani, MD, Chair of the Department of Radiology and sponsor.

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