Market update: Imaging leaders falling out of love with deconstructed PACS

The idea of implementing a “deconstructed PACS”—using multiple vendors for key solutions such as your PACS, VNA and viewers—was gaining huge momentum among imaging providers as recently as a few years ago. Now, however, providers are moving away from a best-of-breed approach to its imaging solutions and embracing a single-source approach.

This finding comes from a new survey of nearly 300 imaging professionals conducted by research firm Reaction Data. It is part of the firm’s report, “Ideal Approach to Radiology IT— Best-of-Breed vs. Single-Source.”

Of the 297 survey respondents, 32 percent were directors of radiology, 27 percent were PACS administrators and 11 percent were imaging directors. Radiology directors, radiologists, physicians and imaging managers also participated. In addition, 25 percent of respondents reported an annual study volume of 100,000-250,000, and 18 percent reported handling 50,000-100,000 studies each year. Another seven percent have an annual study volume of 1-2 million studies each year.

Sixty-seven percent of respondents said they currently use the single-source approach, up from 64 percent in 2017 and 54 percent in 2016. The number of respondents who currently use the best-of-breed approach, however, was 33 percent this year, down from 36 percent in 2017 and 46 percent in 2016.

Two years ago, almost three quarters indicated that they wanted a single-source approach. The margin narrowed by about 10 percentage points in 2017. Now, however, the preferences are once again back up in that three quarters range in favor of single-source.

“Radiology has always been a bit of a maverick willing to go its own way, so it very well could be that five years down the road, the pendulum could swing back towards best-of-breed,” according to the report. “But for now, single-source is winning the day.”

With this trend in mind, the firm also asked respondents how likely they would be to recommend their vendor on a scale of one to 10. The 2018 Net Promoter Score, which subtracts the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters, was a five, which the report describes as “a tepid result.”

In addition, when the firm requested direct commentary about vendors, 62 percent of that commentary had a positive tone, 23 percent had a negative tone and the other 15 percent was neutral. Customer support, functionality and stability were the three most common topics explored in direct commentary.