Hospital PACS purchase plans double in one year

July 14, 2003

The U.S. economy may be staggering elsewhere, but hospitals are about to embark on a spending spree for new electronic clinical systems, including PACS, according to a new report."The number of hospitals planning to purchase PACS has more than doubled

The U.S. economy may be staggering elsewhere, but hospitals are about to embark on a spending spree for new electronic clinical systems, including PACS, according to a new report.

"The number of hospitals planning to purchase PACS has more than doubled in one year," said Sheldon Dorenfest, president of Sheldon I. Dorenfest and Associates, a Chicago healthcare management consulting service.

A review of patient safety and PACS data from the first 720 hospitals interviewed for the 2003 Dorenfest Integrated Healthcare Delivery Database shows that a substantial increase in new clinical systems buying is on the horizon, he said. Ultimately, the database will contain interviews from 1500 healthcare delivery systems.

In particular, PACS, computerized physician order entry (CPOE), clinical data repositories, and computerized patient records showed the greatest jumps in new buying interest in 2003, according to Dorenfest.

Last year, 156 (21.6%) of the first 720 hospitals interviewed for the 2002 report indicated PACS purchase plans. This year, after the same number of hospitals were surveyed, the number indicating intent to purchase PACS rose to 313 (43.5%).

"That's a huge jump," Dorenfest said.

His database contains 1500 healthcare delivery systems that own, lease, or manage more than 30,000 healthcare facilities, including every hospital over 100 beds and 60% of all hospitals under 100 beds.

Each of the 30,000-plus facilities is linked to one of the 1500 parent delivery systems. Dorenfest collects demographic and information system profiles on all 1500. The information systems profile tracks 50 applications, including PACS and eight associated modalities.

"These profiles are updated every year," Dorenfest said. "We've interviewed about half of the delivery systems in the process of building the 2003 database, and we drew the conclusion that PACS purchase plans have doubled in one year based on those interviews."

Dorenfest attributes this leap to patient safety and enterprise image distribution.

"Enterprise distribution is the major reason to get a PACS, but the force driving enterprise distribution is patient safety," he said.

Patient safety concerns create larger budgets for the purchase of electronic systems, such as PACS and CPOE, that will improve the delivery of healthcare, he said.