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PACS(Picture Archiving and Communication System)

    With advances in biomedical engineering, many high-tech clinical equipment(such as CAT scan, ultrasonography, X-Ray machine, etc.) are becoming routine in health care. The majority of imaging studies are carried out with X-Ray films or other means of photography to assist clinical physicians diagnose disease. However, the maintenance, storage, and transportation of medical images create a tremendous burden for the human resources of the institute and are prone to human errors. Recent developments in computer technology have rendered traditional methods obsolete, and today, the acquisition, processing, archiving and transfer of medical images are consolidated by this expensive and sophisticated system, thus increasing efficiency.

    Construction of a Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) maximizes quality of care and minimizes time consumption. PACS also helps decrease the examination time, minimizes the risk of lost films, and enables clinical physicians in different departments to access images and reports at the outpatient departments or in their offices before planning therapeutic measures. PACS is a part of the biomedical informatics system, which includes the hospital computer system, laboratory data information system, and the radiological imaging system. True to its name, the PACS is mainly involved with the digital archiving of picture images and their access across a computer network to various terminal computer screens. With advances in this digital technology, different types of picture images can all be transferred in this fashion to aid in the diagnosis of disease by clinical physicians, teaching and academic research. Both a powerful hardware system and a comprehensive software system are necessary for PACS to be successful.