It is my prediction that the days of the acronym "PACS" are numbered. Picture Archiving and Communications Systems are the hospital systems that store all those digital diagnostic images- X-ray, mammogram, MR, CT etc.
They need phenomenal storage capacity (Terabytes) and distributing those images (usually of the DICOM format) from the imagers to radiologists is therefore non-trivial.
When did you last hear an application based IT system have to define itself as a communication system? That's inherent in the fact that it is information technology. It feels illogical to make a big deal out of that, reflects challenges largely in the past and aspires to monolithic systems. I try and use the terms "DICOM Storage", "DICOM Viewer" and "Radiology Writer" to describe the constituent parts and apply as appropriate. Processes are being reengineered such that these elements are being reused in ways the inventing technologists hadn't imagined and the PACS term will itself be reengineered.
There's a lot of inertia in the acronym by virtue of the intellectual capital (deals, research papers, products, implementations) invested in it, so I don't expect a change any time soon... but watch this space
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