Pundit predicts PACS boom in U.S. over coming months

August 6, 2003

Forecast hinges on completing survey Nearly two decades have passed since the first commercial PACS was proposed. Now it seems the commercial promise of this technology may finally be realized. Chicago analyst Sheldon Dorenfest

Forecast hinges on completing survey

Nearly two decades have passed since the first commercial PACS was proposed. Now it seems the commercial promise of this technology may finally be realized. Chicago analyst Sheldon Dorenfest believes that hospitals are poised to begin spending heavily on IT systems, and the PACS industry will be one of the major beneficiaries.

"The number of hospitals planning to purchase PACS has more than doubled in one year," said 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 a substantial rise in the number of hospitals looking to buy new clinical systems, he said. PACS, computerized physician order entry (CPOE), clinical data repositories, and computerized patient records showed the biggest jumps in new buying interest in 2003.

Dorenfest warned that the results are only preliminary. Data from another 780 hospitals need to be entered. But about halfway through the collection and analysis process, the future looks bright for PACS.

Of the first 720 hospitals interviewed for the 2002 report, 156 (21.6%) indicated an interest in buying PACS. By comparison, in the survey of the same number of hospitals this year, those indicating an interest in purchasing PACS more than doubled to 313 (43.5%). Dorenfest attributes the 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.

When complete, the database will profile about 1500 healthcare delivery systems, which together own, lease, or manage more than 30,000 healthcare facilities. It will include every hospital over 100 beds and 60% of all hospitals under 100 beds. Hospital profiles track 50 applications, including PACS.