A growing number of health care professionals across the globe now view picture archiving and communications systems (PACS) as a core technology . Such is its growing popularity that a new report by independent market analyst Datamonitor, predicts the PACS market in Europe and North America will reach a value of $8.6 billion by 2011 compared to an estimated $4.9 billion today, providing sizeable opportunities for technology vendors. The report, "Digital Imaging: Reducing Medical Error and Improving Diagnostics," says PACS is proving a success in North America, the UK and the Nordics. According to Datamonitor, with PACS technology evolving from being purely radiology-centric, it is not only moving into different health care departments but also other industry sectors, including academic institutions and pharmaceutical companies.

Cost savings, time efficiency and higher level of patient care which PACS brings to healthcare and beyond, is driving market growth. With PACS installed, clinicians can have access to large quantities of medical history at their fingertips enabling quick cross-referencing, saving valuable time in dealing with complex cases. For radiologists, PACS enables a far quicker turn around with each patient, thus creating a more efficient system. As PACS is more efficient than using traditional film, it means more patients can be seen in a day; therefore, less staff are required to maintain the same level of service.

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