Metrics guide PACS budget forecast model

Steve G. Langer, PhD, associate professor of radiologic physics at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. has developed a model for estimating infrastructure capital for the ongoing maintenance of PACS, which was published online before print in the Journal of Digital Imaging.

“A PACS is not a one-time only purchase; new modalities, software applications and upgrades, expanding access to an existing system and increased storage requirements are among the many elements that a system administrator may be called on to implement. Hence, determining the correct amount of capital to reserve annually for the information technology infrastructure can be a difficult process for the administrator of a medical center,”

While this is correct, there are many more aspects Technical Systems Administrators have to look out for in their work.

Dr Langer came up with his model to guide the financial planning for the ongoing maintenance of PACS at his facility but it is not without assumptions:

  • Data volumes can be predicted for one year, preferably two;
  • Networking requirements will scale with data volume;
  • Computational requirements will scale with data volume; and
  • Accurate data quantifying growth rate of the performance-to-dollar ratio for resources.

Once the metrics for his department are assembled, he used Microsoft Excel to determine the slope, via the SLOPE function in the application, from the table of values.

“Doing this provides one with two methods to determine budgets: either by comparing the slopes of the resource versus the need (from the tables) or by laying the two plots on the same graph and visually determining the relationship,”

According to Langer, if the slopes are the same one can budget constant dollars. If the need slope is less than the resource slope, one can reduce budgeted assets. If the need slope is greater than the resource slope, an increase in budget assets will be required.

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