Original Research

A comparative cost analysis of picture archiving and communications systems (PACS) versus conventional radiology in the private sector

Indres Moodley, Sivani Moodley
South African Journal of Radiology | Vol 19, No 1 | a634 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajr.v19i1.634 | © 2015 Indres Moodley, Sivani Moodley | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 May 2014 | Published: 31 March 2015

About the author(s)

Indres Moodley, Health Outcomes Research Unit, Department of Public Heath Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Sivani Moodley, Health Outcomes Research Unit, Department of Public Heath Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

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Background: Radiology is rapidly advancing, with a global transition to digital imaging technology to improve productivity and enhance communication. The major challenge confronting radiology practices is to demonstrate cost savings and productivity gains when a picture archiving and communication system (PACS) is established.

Aim: To undertake an incremental cost analysis of PACS compared with conventional radiology to determine productivity gains, if any, at two private hospitals in Durban.

Method: An incremental cost analysis for chest radiographs, computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging brain scans with and without contrast were performed. The overall incremental cost for PACS in comparison with a conventional radiology site was determined. The net present value was also determined to evaluate the capital budgeting requirements for both systems.

Results: The incremental cost of both capital and the radiology information system for installing PACS shows an expected increase. The incremental PACS image cost shows a reduction.

Conclusion: The study provides a benchmark for the cost incurred when implementing PACS. It also provides a decision framework for radiology departments that plan to introduce PACS and helps to determine the feasibility of its introduction.


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