The Big Picture: System integration gains momentum

March 1, 1999

System integration gains momentumThe ability of vendors to integrate PACS networks into other healthcare information systems continues to grow, thanks to a combination of customer and industry forces.To spur industry and prompt the installation of

System integration gains momentum

The ability of vendors to integrate PACS networks into other healthcare information systems continues to grow, thanks to a combination of customer and industry forces.

To spur industry and prompt the installation of integrated image and information management systems, the RSNA and HIMSS launched the Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise initiative (PNN 2/99). After a slow start, work on IHE appears to be under way in earnest, and IHE's technical committee was set to release a technical document at last month's HIMSS meeting in Atlanta.

While IHE moves forward, the military's DIN-PACS process contributes mightily to the overall goal of systems integration, despite funding shortfalls that have slowed purchasing (see story, right). As part of their participation in the DIN-PACS project, Agfa and IBM teams claim to have achieved true integration of RIS and PACS, not just interconnectivity. Their example can only help improve participation in the IHE initiative from reluctant vendors who won't want to fall behind the competition.

Other PACS vendors have moved aggressively to increase their involvement in the HIS and EPR sector in the last few months. GE Medical Systems announced a strategic alliance with Cerner prior to last year's RSNA meeting (PNN 12/98), and StorComm has formed an alliance with electronic patient record firm MedPlus (see story, page 4). As developments multiply, it appears obvious that the PACS market is moving toward its final frontier.

--Erik L. Ridley, Editor

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