Radiology Information Systems (RIS) and PACS: What They Are and How They Work Together


You probably hear a lot of “shop talk” or medical jargon if you work in radiology or another healthcare field. This terminology may seem foreign to those outside of the medical field. PACS and RIS are two medical jargons familiar to most radiologists and physicians. Here is a brief overview of how PACS (Program for Archiving and Communications System) is related to radiology and how it can work with a RIS (Radiology Information System) to benefit radiologists, doctors, hospitals and patients.

PACS: What Is It?

You may be familiar with the term PACS, but may not know what it means. Cloud PACS system simply consists of a picture archiving and communication system. Rather than storing X-ray film in film jackets and retrieving, storing and transporting them manually, this system stores images and reports electronically.

PACS Components

There are four components to the system, which are as follows:

  • Images modalities are the image systems that are used to scan a patient and create a medical image.
  • Uploading and transferring images over a secure network to a database
  • A workstation for viewing and studying images by radiologists and doctors
  • Archives for storage—Another main component is a secure storage area in which the image and its supporting documents can be available for the people who are permitted to view it. Also read..

Combining PACS and RIS can be beneficial

PACS software is of particular interest to radiologists.

  • It is not uncommon for radiology PACS to be located alongside a radiology information system.
  • Radiologists use a radiology information system to keep track of patient radiology histories and to schedule appointments for patients. PACS, however, is primarily intended for storing and retrieving images.
  • In a hospital radiology department, PACS software combined with a RIS improves image storage, retrieval, and transfer because images can be securely stored and retrieved.

Advantages of this system

PACS has several other benefits in radiology, including:

  • Digitally storing radiology reports allows for a more orderly storage of patient data. Through the software, physicians are able to easily access patient files without having to sift through a pile of paperwork.
  • The tools enable enhanced visualization of images since they can be electronically manipulated for visual enlargement. You can rotate images to create 3D images of tissues, organs, blood vessels, and bones, for example. Data can then be analyzed and interpreted more effectively.
  • In addition, there is no need to print films, which is a significant financial benefit. Using software on digital devices, it is easy to view images and reports using the cloud-based system. Therefore, you save money by not having to pay for film, ink or printing. Furthermore, you don’t have to hire staff to provide these services, so you save on costs.

The Benefits to Patients

The benefits for patients are also numerous.

  • Because of the high-quality images, patients can receive more accurate diagnoses.
  • Radiation exposure is reduced, which is a primary benefit for patients
  • Images don’t need to be retaken as often.
  • Due to the fact that patients do not have to be reexamined, examination time is shorter.
  • Additionally, side effects are less likely to occur.

Further Considerations and Benefits

  • 2D and 3D images can be stored in PACS.
  • Data management can be made more efficient by reducing the number of identical images.
  • The patient’s radiology history is viewed chronologically.
  • Surgeons can view images of their patients before they visit an exam room with PACS. Not only do they improve patient care, but they also speed up work flow.
  • PACS can be accessed remotely. Teleradiology is now possible for physicians in faraway geographical areas.
  • Benefits also accrue to hospitals. In addition to improved communication with doctors, hospitals have also been able to improve their administration. Staff retention also improves due to a more positive attitude in the hospital.
  • In addition to radiologists, PACS is now being used by cardiologists, oncologists, dermatologists and pathologists.

Here’s the Bottom Line

  • PACS is not only beneficial to radiologists, but to diagnosticians, administrators, and referring doctors as well.
  • PACS systems are used to store images on both a short- and long-term basis.