For patients, medical imaging professionals and hospital administrators, the digitalization of healthcare has had a huge impact, streamlining the way care is delivered and introducing new efficiencies across the healthcare ecosystem. Here’s an overview of how we see the impact of digitalization, consumerization, budget pressures and Covid continuing, over the short- and long-term, and the implications for medical imaging and healthcare.


Covid as a catalyst for change

How has the pandemic contributed to changes in medical imaging and healthcare?

The pandemic has been a big driver for change. A key reason is the significantly increased need for remote image reading. In addition, because of Covid-19, budgets are under even more pressure due to the decrease in the number of patients, meaning hospitals are also looking for the most cost-effective solutions. On top of that, there is increased demand for networking and collaboration between hospitals – which is also a driver for using web-based cloud solutions like PACSonWEB as a PACS.

The healthcare and medical imaging market

How has the healthcare market changed?

In general, there are four key developments: patients are evolving into consumers (they have the data, but want interpretation); healthcare systems are becoming smarter (smart care – e.g. through AI or smart sensors); care is becoming more available and closer to the patient (care anywhere – think wearables, apps, web-based tools); and health data is increasingly being analyzed and exchanged (data driven healthcare – exchange platforms, big data, etc).

Digitalization has made it much easier for patients to access their own medical data, while wearables and other apps are adding more health data to be considered. In addition, patients are increasingly acting as their own care managers, compiling data (including online [mis]information), and performing at-home tests. They’re looking to their healthcare professionals to help them interpret the data, provide guidance on diagnoses and treatment, and help them better manage their health.

The pressures on hospitals are changing too. Hospitals are facing an increasing demand for care, more data and are more and more obliged to collaborate. In addition, ICT budgets are under pressure while the share of ICT within the hospital is increasing. Partly because of this and because specific care can no longer be provided by each hospital, hospitals are sometimes forced to collaborate or merge.

What about changes to medical imaging?

Radiology itself is also constantly changing due to more advanced techniques and equipment, the number and types of examinations, and the increasing possibilities of ICT with new solutions that make the radiological process more efficient. In addition, these factors are impacting medical imaging:

  • Smart care: viewing images and making a diagnosis are becoming increasingly qualitative and efficient. The radiologist is helped in this process by systems that (1) display the right information faster and better (e.g. hanging protocols, consolidation of patient data, etc.), and (2) help with the diagnosis (3D processing and AI.) The radiologists themselves are subspecializing more and more, a single radiologist can no longer do 'everything'. Therefore, partnerships are getting bigger or need to be collaborated.
  • Care anywhere: This has several facets. Regular examinations must be performed as close to the patient as possible; specialized examinations more and more centrally. Radiologists have to make a diagnosis remotely and no longer have to be at the location where the examination is being performed (often only for ultrasound). In addition, the demand for home working is growing. The patient does not always go to the same institution for an examination while the data must be available everywhere in his or her further care path. The radiologist also has a need for cross-hospital comparative examinations.
  • Data-driven healthcare: The new modalities provide more and better data (especially but not only images) that needs to be processed, stored, analyzed and reviewed. Most of a hospital's data is images and in every region there is a retention requirement of many years. Radiologists also need to have increasingly intelligent systems to assess the large amounts of data.
How has the market for PACS evolved?
PACS has become a commodity and is no longer regarded as specialized software. The functionalities of a PACS are constantly expanding, most have become commonplace. Prices for PACS have consistently dropped over the last 20 years because the required infrastructure requirements have been reduced, and because the software has become more and more mature and can be based on common techniques. Functional requirements, on the other hand, have increased along with end-user expectations. Service remains very important. Most time and money is now spent on implementation and configuration. This is where we think PACSs can still make a lot of gains. By being smarter about the setup (i.e. hanging protocols) or limiting the implementation by connecting (to the cloud) instead of installing, costs can be reduced.

The cloud and ‘pure’ web-based technology

How has cloud-based technology evolved?
Cloud technology in healthcare is becoming more and more common. Some hospitals are still reluctant, but we see more and more openness in the market, provided that security requirements and legislation are met. Many PACS vendors consider cloud as an option to simply install their software in a data center. For us, however, pure cloud is ensuring that a hospital only needs to connect and it is easy to share resources and data between different hospitals.
What are the security implications of cloud solutions?

Security must be a top priority for any cloud player. A quality system to ensure security and patient safety is necessary. The system must also be secure by design, which means that every process (development, implementation, maintenance) is designed to keep the risks as low as possible. For the customers, it is important that they are well informed, about the technologies and processes, but also about the real risks and how they are dealt with.

By choosing the right cloud partner, you can ensure that the experts safeguarding your data are familiar with all of the latest cyber threats, and understand how to combat them. (Probably more so than your in-house IT support.)

What is 'pure' web-based technology? Why is this important in medical imaging?

Web-based technology has many advantages:

  • Radiologists are no longer tied to a particular workstation. More and more examinations are reported remotely (at home or in another institution).
  • The PACS systems are evolving and often need to be upgraded to continue to meet the requirements / expectations. With web technology, there is no need to upgrade the clients, only the central environment needs to be upgraded.
  • Each platform is supported. A user (radiologist/physician/patient) can easily access the information on any device with the appropriate permissions.

New developments for PACSonWEB

What are the latest developments with the PACSonWEB platform?

We introduced two major developments in 2021:

  1. We launched the complete workflow for the radiologist: multimonitor, with all the tools, etc. This was the last piece of the puzzle for our ecosystem, but also the most challenging. To do the full diagnostics, the system must be fast, even with large data sets, with it having the full workflow and the full toolset of the on-premises systems. For 3D we have a partnership with Siemens.
  2. Incorporating the patient’s complete hospital timeline, including data from other hospitals / clinics.

With this expanded functionality, PACSonWEB is truly leading the way as a cloud native, web-based PACS solution that optimizes the way you work, meeting your needs of today, and into the future.

Want to learn more about PACSonWEB?

Contact us at