Picture archiving and communication systems: an overview

Radiographics. 1992 Jan;12(1):127-9. doi: 10.1148/radiographics.12.1.1734458.


Organizational techniques that enable small departments to function efficiently often fail as departments become larger. With the recent growth in imaging technology, the capacity of film-based systems to meet the increasing needs of radiology departments has decreased. Electronic picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) have been developed in an attempt to provide economical storage, rapid retrieval of images, access to images acquired with multiple modalities, and simultaneous access at multiple sites. Input to a PACS may come from digital or analog sources (when the latter have been digitized). A PACS consists primarily of an image acquisition device (an electronic gateway to the system), data management system (a specialized computer system that controls the flow of information on the network), image storage devices (both short- and long-term archives), transmission network (which serves local or wide areas), display stations (which include a computer, text monitor, image monitors, and a user interface), and devices to produce hard-copy images (currently, a multiformat or laser camera). The goals of PACS are to improve operational efficiency while maintaining or improving diagnostic ability.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Radiology Information Systems* / instrumentation