The term Cloud PACS can encompass an array of titles: Hosted PACS, PACS Software as a Service (SaaS), Off-site PACS, and Web-based PACS. Regardless of the title used, a Cloud PACS must meet certain criteria to qualify as a cloud service as noted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Each of the five characteristics below contributes to the Cloud PACS model being a sound choice for your business.
- On-demand self-service. PACS users are able to request resources and scale their business easily, without disrupting the host operations. This model allows organizational access to appropriate users, so that businesses can make administrative changes and corrections without contacting the vendor every time. Upgrades and updates can also be distributed remotely, shortening downtimes and reducing maintenance issues.
- Broad network access. Physicians, radiologists and technicians can access a cloud-based PACS from different locations and devices via a HIPAA compliant, SSL encrypted secure internet connection. PACS users are no longer tied to designated workstations which improves the turnaround time of reports and the ability to collaborate on patient diagnoses 24/7.
- Resource pooling. The Cloud PACS vendor pools its resources to provide multiple clients with dynamically assigned features and access from a central location based on each client’s business needs. These resources include storage, applications, processing, memory and network bandwidth. Imaging practices are no longer required to be solely responsible for their PACS technology and data storage, which can relieve many time and expense concerns.
- Rapid elasticity. Resource pooling also allows cloud vendors to adapt to varying workloads by detecting the changes and allocating resources automatically. Should a practice grow in size or face unforeseen shifts in demand, the vendor can handle the increases (or decreases) without any change in software or hardware.
- Measured service. With Cloud PACS, the service can often be charged as a fee-per-study due to the vendor’s rapid elasticity. This makes growing your imaging business feasible without having to purchase additional software or hardware with each change in demand over time.
Given the benefits listed above, it’s no surprise that over 80% of healthcare IT executives have already made the switch to cloud services. In addition, cloud services provided in the software as a service model decrease the total cost of ownership for your PACS by removing the burden of IT support and hardware costs.