In the early 1980s members of the radiology community envisioned a future practice built around the concept of a picture archiving and communication system (PACS). Consisting of image acquisition devices, storage archive units, display workstations, computer processors, and databases, all integrated by a communications network and a data management system, the concept has proved to be much more than the sum of its parts. During the past 20 years, as technology has matured, PACS applications have gone beyond radiology to affect and improve the entire spectrum of healthcare delivery. PACS installations are now seen around the world—installations that support focused clinical applications as well as hospital-wide clinical processes are seen on every continent. The relevance of PACS has grown far beyond its initial conception; for example, these systems demonstrate their value by facilitating large-scale longitudinal and horizontal research and education in addition to clinical services. PACS-based imaging informatics is one such important manifestation.

Many important concepts, technological advances, and events have occurred in this field since the publication of my previous books, PACS in Biomedical Imaging, published by VCH in 1996, and PACS: Basic Principles and Applications published by John Wiley & Sons in 1999. With this new effort, I hope to summarize these developments and place them in the appropriate context for the continued development ...

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