Cardiology Picture Archiving and Communication Systems

April 1, 2008 | Evaluations & Guidance


Cardiology picture archiving and communication systems (CPACS) are designed to store and retrieve digital images from cardiac procedures and to provide the tools needed for diagnostic interpretation. CPACS are most commonly used in the cardiac catheterization laboratory (for cardiac angiography) and for echocardiography. Hospitals that use the three systems we evaluated reported that they utilize their CPACS nearly equally for echocardiography studies only (35%), catheterization lab studies only (30%), and a combination of both echocardiography and catheterization (35%). These applications are the main focus of our Evaluation. CPACS can also be used to analyze cardiac images from other modalities, such as computed tomography (CT) and electrocardiography (ECG), but these uses are comparatively rare and had no impact on our ratings.

There is some confusion over what constitutes a CPACS, as they are often used in conjunction with other systems, such as cardiology information systems (CISs), and functionality overlaps occur; see “Information Systems for Cardiology” below for an outline of the different system types.

Also, for explanation of common CPACS terms and abbreviations, see the glossary.

All three of the evaluated CPACS are rated Acceptable. They are versatile systems that allow image display, manipulation, and measurement, as well as quantitative analysis and reporting, for a wide range of cardiology-specific exams. The review stations for all three systems are excellent. Any of these products should be able to meet the needs of the vast majority of hospitals looking for a CPACS.

We evaluated the three CPACS that hospitals most often ask us about. We performed testing, reviewed specifications, and talked to a minimum of four users of each evaluated system. Our detailed test criteria are listed in the Evaluation Criteria section below. We also provide a list of other available systems.

All three of the evaluated systems are rated...

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