Picture Archiving Communication System


Picture Archiving Communication System

Each year in Nova Scotia, there are more than 1.3 million patient diagnostic imaging (DI) exams (i.e. ultra sounds, x-rays, etc.).  The Picture Archiving Communication System (PACS) uses digital electronics rather than film to capture, store, transmit and distribute these medical images.

In June 2006, Nova Scotia was the second province in Canada to achieve 100 per cent PACS implementation. 

PACS enables radiologists and other physicians to remotely, and instantaneously, access images anywhere, anytime.  Digital images, such as angiography, CT scans, X-rays, MRIs, nuclear medicine, and ultrasounds are centrally stored through PACS -- which facilitates sharing of patient information in a secure environment.  By removing the barriers of geography and time, physicians and other health care professionals can offer better, faster patient diagnosis.

PACS transforms a patient’s experience in a several ways:

  • Fewer patient transfers
  • Faster and more complete diagnosis
  • Ability for physicians to consult on patient cases at a distance, bridging urban and rural health care
  • More access to specialist consultation for patients in remote locations
  • Patients do not have to transport film during their care
  • Less time waiting for test results, which can lead to a faster transition to the next phase of treatment or care
  • Patients may often discharged from healthcare facilities faster

At a time when health care resources are at a premium, PACS provides benefits by:

  • Eliminating the costs linked with film storage, transportation and disposal
  • Requiring less contact with hazardous chemicals previously involved with film processing
  • Moving patients through the hospital system more quickly
  • Increasing employee productivity

Nova Scotia’s PACS is a key part of the electronic health record (EHR) and the goal of one electronic health record for each person. That will lead to better health care.