Paso de los espectadores de PACS a un lado para los espectadores de la empresa

por Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | October 10, 2014
Nadim Daher
Although the overall growth of the U.S. PACS market is starting to slow down, the enterprise medical image viewers segment is bucking the trend with predicted earnings to increase nearly 50 percent from 2013 to 2017, according to a new Frost & Sullivan analysis.

The enterprise image viewers, once only used as a point-of-entry for secondary viewing of PACS-centric images, are having their roles expanded to move into the primary imaging space as well.

About five years ago, the first generation of enterprise viewers hit the market and they were Web-based clinical review image viewers that were added onto existing PACS systems. Those viewers allowed the referring physicians to view their patients' images, gaining a surface level of information.
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But now, the viewers have become more vendor neutral and can be more easily tied into archives and hosted in the EMR. They are now addressing a wider range of use cases including primary image viewing.

The analysis found that the U.S. enterprise medical image viewers market was worth $44.8 million in 2013 but that it's anticipated to hit $63.9 million in 2017. Large, multi-site health systems as well as standalone hospitals are expected to fuel the market. However, the demand will still be the highest among the mid-sized organizations.

"Depending on the type of facility, the enterprise viewers are being acquired to meet different types of use cases," Nadim Daher, advanced medical technologies principal analyst at Frost & Sullivan, told DOTmed News. The standalone hospitals see the enterprise viewers as a marketing strategy for their medical imaging service line and the health systems are trying to standardize and virtualize their reading environment across the organization.

Viewers integrated with EMR systems have been around for several years, but the information they delivered and how they delivered it wasn't always at the desired level. "Now, with the menu item Meaningful Use stage 2 regarding EMR-based access to images, and having proven enterprise viewer products offered by more experienced vendors, one can expect the U.S. market to ramp up on the adoption curve of image-enabled EMRs and health care information exchanges," said Daher.

In order for the enterprise viewer vendors to attract more customers, they'll have to emphasize their products' return on investment and total cost of ownership. For example, when the industry was moving from hard copy film to digital with the first PACS systems, adoption moved along briskly because there was a clear return on investment.

But the ROI of any new imaging informatics purchase is less tangible. For this type of purchase, it's about improving efficiency and service to the patient. Both take some significant research to deliver a proper determination of value.

"Without their proactive involvement in helping imaging customers build a case internally using ROI and TCO analyses, solutions such as enterprise viewers will be a 'hard sell' for vendors," said Daher.

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