Workflow gains drive European PACS market

The desire for improved workflow in European radiology departments is driving increased demand for PACS networks, while the enhanced functionality and scope of PACS hardware and projects are yielding a rapid return on investment (ROI) for users, according to a report recently issued by market research and consulting firm Frost & Sullivan.

The San Jose, CA-based firm projects European PACS and PACS professional and technical services market will increase from $516.1 million in 2005 to $834.3 million by 2012.

The innovation of remote diagnostics to meet the maintenance needs of radiology departments has driven the adoption of full-service agreements (FSAs), according to Frost. In other trends, technological advances have created workstations with improved hardware to assist in optimizing workflow. This is likely to be enhanced with the advent of speech recognition technology, Frost said.

Vendors have also broadened their workstation portfolio to develop a clear distinction between primary diagnosis, secondary review, and tertiary review. As a result, PACS is likely to be a less capital-intensive undertaking, as low-end tertiary review stations can be installed in locations such as emergency wards, according to Frost.

With the installation of RIS networks being on parallel tracks with PACS, the technical profile of generic PACS is becoming increasingly complex, Frost said. The installation of local and wide area networks to provide adequate bandwidth and archiving has also augmented existing complexities.

In line with European goals to curtail healthcare expenditures, large-scale purchasing initiatives have been introduced to negotiate huge discounts, Frost said. Frost noted that the flexibility of scalable application service provider (ASP) models will also likely support market growth.

In the future, end users are likely to purchase a collection of PACS elements from different vendors to benefit from price advantages, Frost said.

By staff writers
March 2, 2006

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