PACS News

Paging System Hastens Clinician Access to Medical Images…

Researchers have identified a shared wealth of knowledge at an Australian hospital; as pages sent out to MDs, informing them their images were available in the PACS significantly diminished the time between when studies were ready and when they were viewed. The team from Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth, Western Australia, discovered that integrating a straightforward paging notification system diminished the average waiting time for clinician image review from three hours to just half an hour. And although the team admits that manually paging a physician each time a study has been documented by a radiologist and is ready to be viewed in PACS isn’t likely to stand on its own two feet, they trust their data exemplifies the clinical pros of notification and would make-way for the use of automated notification systems. In a two-part study spanning over two months, participants from the general medicine, general surgery, vascular surgery, neurosurgery, and orthopedic surgery departments were requested to manually record the time and date at which they viewed radiological images they had asked for. They were also asked to record any differences from their usual practice. Data was collected from over 10 working days for 45 patients. Data was then weighed against information in the RIS to calculate the time between when a study was requested and when it was available for viewing in the PACS. Images from X-ray, CT, MRI, ultrasound, and bone scans were also part of the study. There was an average delay of 180.02 minutes (95% confidence interval [CI]: 135.1 to 225 minutes) between when the image was ready and when it was viewed. When asked what could possibly be the main factor in such a delay, 33 (72%) of 46 doctors based it on the simple fact of not knowing the images were indeed ready and viewable.  For the second part of the study, junior doctors were paged by senior author of the study, Dr. Madusha Chandratilleke, spanning six days between 8 AM and 5 PM, when images were viewable on PACS. Pages were sent out a full 30 minutes after images were ready and prepared. The new paging system, used for 52 patients in eight inpatient departments, decreased the average time-delay between image accessibility and viewing to 33.95 minutes (95% CI: 24.1 to 43.8 min), earning positive feedback on the system. "There were high levels of satisfaction from all staff involved regarding a notification system for radiology with reported increased working efficiency and shorter delays to intervention and changes in management. A notification system also has the benefits of urgent imaging being viewed immediately and acted upon earlier, as well as less 'missed' pathology and errors,” noted the study. While automated notification systems are available on the market they are expensive and take time to install, and until now it was uncertain whether the use of them would effectively assist physicians. “This is the first study that has demonstrated that clinician notification will reduce the time between the images becoming available and actually being viewed. Hereafter, it may be that clinical care may be provided in a more timely fashion. There is therefore potential for more efficient and timely healthcare provision,” said co-author and consultant neurosurgeon Dr. Stephen ... Read more

Web-Based PACS Turns PCs into Image-Processing …

A new picture archiving and communication system (PACS) is a highly multifaceted and readable web-centered system that grants access to medical images throughout the enterprise for faster diagnosis, reporting, storing, and distribution of clinical records and data. Shina Systems (Caesarea, Israel), is a manufacturer of clinical image management, visualization, and analysis software recently installed and released in the new version of its 3Di PACS. 3Di PACS is a revolutionary platform that permits and helps healthcare providers, physicians, and most importantly patients to view medical images from anywhere from diagnostic image reading and interpretation, to perceptive viewing of images on a personal health record. The 3DI PACs web interface gives way to managing studies and physician work lists through a fully featured, zero-footprint two-dimensional (2D)/3D web-based viewer. The 3Di PACS system is an enhanced diagnostic PACS viewer for reading and interpreting 2D, 3D, and 4D (sequence) studies using therapeutic high-speed streaming technology, multimonitor support, and advanced hanging protocol (HP). With this new release of 3Di PACS, physicians, patients, and other users on a global scale will be able to use an intuitive diagnostic viewing technology that can accessed instantaneously from any web browser. The updated version includes a broader range of interaction features, such as volume-rendering tools, rule-based HP definition, and selection, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved mammography reading tools, easy-to-use magnetic resonance (MR) spine-labeling, integrated reporting, and integration with other hospital information systems. The release of this new version comes after an evaluation period in specific live sites worldwide, in which the software was utilized as the main PACS. The overall experience and feedback offered by these test sites were then put into effect with the new and most current version of 3Di PACS. 3Di workstation is an highly developed multimodality viewing and analysis software program, which stretches over a wider range of clinical needs, including an autosegmentation cardiac computed tomography (CT) analysis tool, CT colonoscopy, and positron emission tomography (PET)-CT fusion.This release is part of the 3Di product selection, including newer versions of the 3Di Cloud software and 3Di workstation. 3Di Cloud is a lucrative, cloud-based image management and visualization software set, which adapts any Internet-connected personal computer (PC) into a full-fledged, complete image-processing workstation.  Shina Systems manufactures and sells clinical image management and analysis application softwares. The company achieved its market value through its curative means, automated image segmentation tools and its discerning, clinician-friendly application ... Read more

White Paper to Support Teleradiology…

A white paper on teleradiology is due to be issued by the European Society of Radiology in December this year, to coincide with the Radiological Society of North America conference in Chicago. A task force made up of 13 members from different parts of Europe was set up by the ESR last year to look at the challenges posed by teleradiology and to develop the white paper. The ESR hopes that the recommendations in the white paper will be used as a best practice document for all parties with an interest or involvement in radiology, including clinicians, hospital administrators and ICT staff. The paper’s 11 chapters will cover topics such as regulatory and legal issues, patient safety, communication, technical issues and quality assessment. Erik Ranschaert, chair of the taskforce, speaking in a personal capacity to EHI Imaging Informatics, said that the paper would be used influence political decision makers in Europe. “The ESR is trying to explain to decision makers that teleradiology is more than an electronic service, it’s a complicated form of telemedicine which should not be different from radiology services that are provided locally. It takes a lot of effort to make politicians aware of that.” Teleradiology is a big issue for European countries in which there is already widespread use of PACS systems, such as the UK, Germany and the Nordic countries, said Ranschaert. In other countries, including France and Greece, film-based radiology systems still predominate. Although teleradiology is already used in some countries, particularly those that have regional networks, there has been some nervousness about the adoption of cross-border teleradiology, in which images are sent for diagnosis to radiologists in another country. There is a common misconception, said Ranschaert, that cross-border teleradiology always refers to the use of India or other countries where labour is cheaper. In practice, there are good reasons for using cross-border teleradiology within the European Union countries, where the radiology qualifications in individual countries are regarded as equivalent throughout the member states, subject to local requirements allowed under the principle of 'subsidiarity'. “There’s an enormous shortage of radiologists in the UK, and constantly there are vacancies for radiologists everywhere,” he said. “So if you don’t have a local radiologist, then of course there’s an advantage in using teleradiology because then you can improve the local situation by providing the expertise of someone else. “Instead of physically importing a radiologist, you can use radiologists in another country where there might be not a shortage but an over-capacity in radiologists.” In the Netherlands and Belgium, Ranschaert pointed out, there is surplus of radiologists: “In some parts of Europe there might be over capacity, in other parts there might be a shortage. Why shouldn’t we exchange capacity this way?” Ranschaert believes that the white paper will be an important step in creating acceptable, widely-recognised standards for the use of teleradiology. “We can gain a lot from when we do teleradiology professionally, when it’s happening according to internationally accepted standards, and when quality can be assured. But if you don’t provide standards or guidelines, that quality might be in ... Read more

Whittington Picks Set of Sectra Systems…

The Whittington Hospital in North London has signed a ten-year contract with Sectra to provide a PACS, RIS and vendor neutral archive. The Sectra system will replace a PACS from Siemens Healthcare, originally procured in 2001, well before the PACS contracts negotiated by the NPfIT. Originally, the Siemens PACS was implemented to deal with the problem of films being lost between the X-ray department and the A&E department, with a full implementation following in 2004. The previous RIS system from iSoft (originally known as Amersham) was procured in the mid-1990s. David Grant, chief information officer of Whittington Health, said that the Sectra PACS, which is a web-based solution, was chosen because the product is “very integrated, easy-to-use and fairly intuitive in its design. “We liked the fact that there were some modules that were really innovative, such as dose-tracking, which is a way of automatically recording the dosage of exposures, so we would get a cumulative radiation exposure on a given patient.” Although the Whittington hadn’t been committed to having one supplier for PACS, RIS and VNA, it did want to minimise the number of “brokers”, said Grant. “Where we had suffered in the past was from having lots of different brokers communicating or not communicating with each other and producing system failures. “So integration for us had to be seamless and as built-in to the product as we could possibly get. [We want any] application, even if it is a separate company’s application, to be launched from the desktop of the Sectra PACS.” The addition of a VNA means that all digital images will be held in a single repository, so that clinicians will be able to retrieve any image with a single mouse-click. “Whether the x-ray is from 2004 or 2013, we will be able to retrieve it without first having to pull it from one archive into a current archive, then to view it, which we have to do now,” said Grant. Later in the year, the electronic patient record system will go live, which will further improve integration, added Grant. “The beauty of that from a clinical point of view is that there is just a single sign-on – once you’ve gained appropriate access into the EPR, you can get into the PACS, or the VNA, and you don’t have to keep logging in all the time.” Grant said he expected that migration from existing systems would be challenging: “It will take a little while to configure and to migrate the data, because we have data going back to 2001. “For plain films, we’ve got 12 years’ worth of data. For the complex imaging, we’ve got nine years worth of data.” Implementation of the Sectra solution has already started, and is planned to go live in October this ... Read more

Sectra and Swedish Healthcare Provider Sign Nine-Year …

Blekinge County Council has signed a nine-year contract with medical imaging IT company, Sectra (STO: SECT B). The contract includes development, maintenance and support of the comprehensive county council IT solutions for the management of medical images and patient information, Sectra RIS and PACS. The contract with Sectra also comprises products that facilitate secure communication of images and information with other county councils and private care providers. The order value amounts to SEK 26 million (approx. EUR 3 M). Most patients undergo a radiology examination as part of diagnosis and treatment of their disease or injury. Accordingly, the departments’ ability to manage and communicate images and information rapidly and efficiently to staff at other care units is of major importance in terms of the quality of care provided to patients. “We have had a business relationship with Sectra for more than 10 years. Our experience is that Sectra listens to our needs and that, as a longstanding customer, we have been able to influence how the system is developed, which enables us to provide even more effective and better care. This is a key reason for us continuing this cooperation,” says Per Johansson, Director of Administration at Blekinge County Council. Blekinge County Council uses Sectra’s comprehensive solution to manage and communicate patient information (RIS) and radiology images (PACS), and also Sectra’s solution for efficiently distributed radiology cooperation, including with hospitals belonging to other county councils. As a result of a shared IT system, the hospitals that belong to Blekinge County Council can easily share patient information and radiology images among themselves and also with hospitals in other county councils. This facilitates efficient use of resources and enhances the conditions for high-quality and safe care. “Blekinge is one of our most longstanding customers and retaining the confidence of existing customers in this manner is just as important for Sectra as signing new contracts,” says Sectra’s CEO Torbjörn Kronander. “Our successes build on being a long-term partner to our customers.” About Sectra Sectra develops and sells IT systems and services for radiology, women’s health, orthopedics and rheumatology. More than 1,400 hospitals, clinics and imaging centers worldwide use the systems daily, together performing over 70 million radiology examinations annually. This makes Sectra one of the world-leading companies within systems for handling digital radiology images. In Scandinavia, Sectra is the market leader with more than 50% of all film-free installations. Sectra’s systems have been installed in North America, Scandinavia and most major countries in Europe and the Far East. Sectra was founded in 1978 and has its roots in Linköping University in Sweden. The company’s business operation includes cutting-edge products and services within the niche segments of medical systems and secure communication systems. Sectra has offices in 12 countries and operates through partners worldwide. Sales in the 2011/2012 fiscal year totaled SEK 823 million. The Sectra share is quoted on the NASDAQ OMX Stockholm AB ... Read more

Picking Out the Best PACS for Organization Imaging …

Buying a PACS is a long term investment made by a healthcare organization, be it a hospital or a midsized outpatient practice. It is the building blocks of a healthcare organization’s radiology and thus medical operations, without the most suitable PACS for the organization the flow of its operations are more likely to be interrupted frequently causing a major headache for both the organization’s employees and its management. And due to the availability of a variety of PACS products and vendors with different offers and different reliability levels and functions, an organization needs a comprehensive guide to navigate through the market and determine which system can truly benefit the organization operations and be an addition to its assets. That is why when deciding on which PACS vendor to choose and what equipment is necessary to get for the PACS to operate at its most effective level, healthcare organizations need to go through a comprehensive understanding and analysis process in order to understand their specific needs and where those needs could be met in the healthcare IT software market. PACS consists of four major components: the imaging modality like MRI or CT, the network through which the images are transmitted either between physicians and labs or even patients, a database for storing data and workstations located in all operative departments used for viewing images. These components need to be taken into consideration when choosing a suitable PACS for the healthcare organization. Another issue that needs to be considered is the deployment strategy that most suits the organization, whether the PACS is going to purchased as a standalone system from a software vendor or whether the organization needs to purchase an imaging device along with the system from vendors like Siemens or General Electric. The purchased PACS needs to be integrated with the organization’s EMR system as they are rarely sold alone, so if the organization isn’t already using an EMR system, it should purchase one that is easily integrated and compatible with the chosen PACS. The very first step in determining which PACS best serves the organization needs, the organization needs to identify its buyer type. There are three types of buyers when it comes to PACS: hospitals, mid to large sized outpatient practices and radiology centers. Each of these buyers handles different quantities of data and thus has different system needs. Hospitals handle a great deal of data and have robust needs for storage and at the same time efficient retrieval of images. Hospitals offer different medical services and their employees include doctors, lab technicians, nurses and so on, so they need flexible systems that can be easily accessible from multiple departments and locations. Midsized and large outpatient practices involve the practices of doctors with different specialties, like neurology, oncology, orthopedics and many other image intensive specialties, so they need robust needs that can only be fulfilled by a formal PACS. The third type of buyers is radiology centers. These centers usually buy PACS and Radiology Information Systems (RIS) as an integrated suite so that they can manage both images and clinical patient data in one package as they handle a high volume of both. After determining which buyer type the organization is, some healthcare IT market trends need to be considered when selecting a product and vendor. There is the Software as a Service (SaaS) applications, which is simply hosting the data centrally on vendor servers, or the cloud, and users can access the data typically using a web browser. This is offered by application service providers and has become very popular in the healthcare industry due to the distributed nature of PACS users. SaaS allows users to access the data without complicated network infrastructure. The organization should also consider the growing use of mobile applications, as almost all stakeholders in the healthcare industry, including doctors, technicians and patients, use their mobiles to access, send and receive different medical data. So it has become a necessity to make sure that the vendor of the chosen PACS has reliably enabled system access from mobile devices. Also healthcare organizations need to take into consideration the integation process between the newly purchased PACS and the EMR system. Two major issues that healthcare organizations must consider when choosing a PACS is efficiency and security. As one of the main benefits of using PACS for all imaging operations is efficiency in the data storage, retrieval, printing and sending of patient images, the system chosen needs to be reliable and able to handle and manipulate large amounts of data. Also, the system should have strong encryption and security measures to ensure that the storage and transmission of patient data are done securely. There are several vendors that supply PACS either with or without imaging devices, and one of the major points that can help the organization in selecting the best vendor for its needs is its buyer type. For example, a hospital should evaluate systems supplied by GE, McKesson and Philips, while midsized and large outpatient practices should evaluate Sage Integry, GE and Medics PACS. Radiology centers should also evaluate Sage Integry and Medics PACS adding to that Ingenix. A comprehensive comparison of vendors and their products based on factors like OS, network, configuration, supported modalities, redundancy/storage, etc. can be accessed here. Last but not least, there are several benefits that an organization gets from purchasing and implementing PACS other than efficiency and security. One is that the cost of image storage, processing and retrieval goes down tremendously because the system will efficiently do handle those tasks instead of employees wasting too much time and energy doing those tasks. Also the organization won’t have to deal with paperwork and shelving and all the direct costs related to printing and storing physical images. Another benefit is that PACS usually have analytical functions that can help analyze and assess images, thus assist physicians in drawing conclusions and eventually improve patient care when using easily accessible and reliable data. A free medical software buyer’s toolkit can be useful in narrowing the options by filtering the data based on the organization’s individual needs, and this toolkit can be downloaded ... Read more

KLAS ratings of PACS vendors and products…

KLAS, an independently owned and operated company that helps healthcare providers make informed decisions regarding their IT systems, conducts 40 performance and perceptions report annually. The reports measure vendor performance to improve healthcare technology delivery and give honest, accurate and impartial opinions to healthcare providers to help them in choosing the best for their operational needs. Reports are built mainly on the opinions and ratings of thousands of healthcare providers that KLAS interviews to rate different vendors. KLAS ensures that its results are comprehensive and accurate by interviewing and including over 4,500 hospitals and over 3,000 doctor’s offices and clinics in their tests. More than 250 healthcare technology vendors and over 900 products and services are rated using the KLAS methodology and communicated to the concerned stakeholders. The rating system of KLAS depends on a number of questions that healthcare providers have to answer by rating different PACS vendors based on different, carefully chosen criteria. The vendors are rated in five main areas: sales and contracting, implementation and training, functionality and upgrades, service and support and general. One of the most prominent annual reports issued by KLAS is the “Best in KLAS Awards: Software and Services” report. The Dec 2012 report announced Unity PACS platforms developed by DR Systems as the number 1 product and vendor. This is the third consecutive year that DR Systems has won this award, and the sixth time since it was first declared as number one in 2001. Also, KLAS declared DR systems as the number one healthcare information technology vendor among its peers in 2007. According to KLAS reports, healthcare IT vendors and the systems they provide are evaluated based on the technology and functionality they offer. The leaders are recognized as the ones that offer meaningful and timely upgrades with expanded usability and functionality for the users. Another report issued by KLAS in November 2012, divided vendors according to the level of innovation and functionality they offer to healthcare providers. The vendors fell in one of three tiers, top, middle and bottom. The top tier vendors were ranked the most innovative because they always upgrade their tools in a timely manner while offering reliable and up-to-date technology. Infinitt and Intelerad were categorized as the most innovative, while other top ranking innovaters were DR Systems, McKesson, Novarad, and Sectra that all released better radiologist tools with recent and timely upgrades. The top tier vendors all showed a track record of improvement,always working on their upgrades and the usability they offered to users, while the middle-tier vendors offered solid technology and upgrades but at a noticeably slower rate than the others. Among the middle-tier vendors were Carestream, Fuji, Merge, and Philips. The bottom tier vendors did offer their users some scalability, stability and integration but they fell in the bottom because their technology and upgrades were still far behind and did not keep pace with the vendors ranking higher in innovation. The innovation bottom tier vendors included Agfa, Cerner, GE and Siemens. So in short, KLAS reports act as a motivation tool for PACS vendors to always up their game and work on improving the products and services they provide healthcare providers with,while on the other hand act as a guidance tool for healthcare providers to determine which vendors will offer them a reliable, stable and up-to-date PACS that can truly benefit their operations and satisfy their imaging ... Read more

CHIME Wants 1-Year Extension of Meaningful Use Stage 2…

In response to a call last month from six GOP senators to reboot the Meaningful Use incentive program, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives said, instead, it would like to see more time given to providers, payers and vendors ... Read more

Trusts Urged to Think PACS/RIS 24/7…

Trusts need to be thinking about future requirements for a 24/7 NHS when they plan their PACS and RIS procurements, according to Erika Denton, national clinical director for diagnostics, NHS England. Denton spoke to EHI Imaging Informatics at an NHS Supply Chain PACS and RIS conference earlier this week. She argued that government plans to introduce NHS seven day a week working, coupled with the increasing demands of an ageing population, would put greater pressure on radiology services. As a result, she said, trusts need to be looking at the rate of increase in workload in imaging. “Nobody’s going to be doing less radiology next year than they are this year.” This has implications for their requirements when planning the purchase imaging systems, she added. “In terms of data storage, of image-sharing with their neighbours, of network services and how they are going to operate across consortia or across network boundaries, how do they need their informatics platform to support those ways of working?” she asked. Trusts should “not allow their informatics platform to tell them what they can do, but they should say what they want to do and then ask suppliers to provide systems that support their working,” she said. The move to seven-day, 24-hour working would bring particular challenges, she added. The likely increase in demand for mobile working would require governance structures to be put in place at both a central and local level. “I have some concerns around reporting images that require higher resolution viewing options, and capability on some mobile portable devices. There are also patient security and safety issues about viewing confidential data in public places.” In many trusts, said Denton, radiology departments were already well-equipped for seven-day working. The difficulty is that the ability of radiology to provide a seven-day service is only of value if the same response speed can be matched elsewhere in the service. “If you take a group of imaging teams and they move to seven-day working but they’re acutely aware that they’re delivering reports on a Sunday and there’s no acute team there to respond to them or make a decision - that’s ultimately demoralizing.” As well as dealing with technical challenges, said Denton, imaging informatics faces structural challenges as the result of the re-organization of the NHS in England. “Our hierarchical infrastructure, with strategic health authorities with chief information officers, has gone, and we haven’t filled that gap of informatics leadership as yet. "We had quite a dependency on our CIOs for regional informatics leadership, and that is not present in the current structures, so I think that is going to be a big ... Read more

Trusts Urged to Act on PACS Procurement…

Trusts have been warned not to delay the start of the procurement process for picture archiving and communications systems to replace those negotiated under the National Programs for IT in the NHS. Dave Burns, senior buyer for NHS Supply Chain, told EHI Imaging Informatics that some trusts might be tempted to put off the procurement process. “We would like to make sure that trusts don’t fall into the trap of sitting back and thinking “we have two or three years to run, so we’ve got plenty of time,” he said. “The more trusts do that, the more trusts will come onto the market together at the end of the process, and clearly that’s going to be in no-one’s best interests.” Burns was speaking at the NHS Supply Chain conference on PACS and radiology information systems held earlier this week. This aimed to encourage those trusts that have not yet started the procurement process to use the NHS Supply Chain PACS and RIS framework, which was tendered last year to support the transition away from the national contracts. As a result of the National PACS Programs, which started in 2004,128 acute trusts, organized into clusters, were provided with PACS and RIS systems that were managed by a local service provider. About 80% of the these contracts were due to run out at the end of June this year, while contracts for the remainder - which includes trusts in London - run out between June 2014 and June 2016. Trusts have the option of procuring their new PACS through the Official Journal of the European Union or through a framework drawn up by NHS Supply Chain. If they choose the framework, they can opt either for a strategic procurement or a short-term tactical procurement, enabling them to buy time. Burns said that the majority of trusts that had opted to use the framework so far had chosen tactical procurements. The procurement process has proved fast, compared to OJEU, he added. A strategic procurement typically took six months, while a tactical procurement took about three months. “The re-procurement of the licenses can be carried out in incredibly short order, because we have the template contracts pre-written, enabling organizations to push down that route and have the contract in place very quickly.” Few of the trusts so far have opted for managed services contracts, said Burns, because they want to “own” the data. Research by EHI Intelligence suggests that trusts that are opting for managed contracts are tending to use their PACS or storage supplier, rather than a third party. “In the national programs, a lot of trusts felt disjointed from ownership. They feel they have this application but they don’t have the control. Trusts are reticent to let the data go off site,” Burns said. The conference also heard from Alasdair Thompson, head of the National PACS Programs, who said that many trusts had already begun the procurement process. In most cases, he said implementation was on track to meet the 1 July 1 deadline. In all, 78 trusts from the North West, West Midlands and Southern clusters have procured replacement PACS and RIS, while six trusts in Yorkshire and the North East have also done so. Thompson reported that there was a 50/50 split between those who went to OJEU and those who used the framework. The OJEU option had mainly been chosen by those who wanted to begin the procurement process early, before the framework was launched, he ... Read more

GE Wins PACS and RIS Deal in Kent…

A Kent and Medway consortium has signed a contract with GE Healthcare to supply picture archiving and communications and radiology information systems for the next seven years. The consortium, formed in September 2011, is made up of four hospital trusts: East Kent Hospitals University, Dartford and Gravesham, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells, and Medway. Dai Davies, general manager for pathology and radiology for East Kent Hospitals NHS Trust, and project lead, said that the decision to group into a Kent-wide consortium allowed economies of scale, and also “made a whole load of sense operationally.” He added: “If you’ve got the same system, you can move images around, so when patients are being treated in the cancer centre at Maidstone, doctors can see the images that were generated in Margate.” Under the previous contract arranged under the National Programs for IT in the NHS, the hospitals were using a PACS supplied by GE Healthcare and a RIS from HSS. The contract was managed by local service provider CSC. The consortium sent out the initial pre-qualification questionnaire in January 2012 via the Official Journal of the European Union. From the initial 20 or so responses, seven suppliers were identified as capable of delivering both PACS and RIS. A tender document was sent out, and the responses underwent a rigorous evaluation, which resulted in GE being selected as the supplier for both PACS and RIS. “The GE PACS was tried-and-tested and very much loved. And their RIS is a state-of-the-art application – it really worked well. It was available on other NHS sites in England – we saw it, and it had proven functionality,” said Davies. The high quality of the voice recognition functionality made the GE RICS particularly attractive, he added. Davies said that a key element of the GE offering was the inclusion of Centricity, a vendor neutral archive, that acts as a repository for unstructured clinical content. Over time, the aim is to add content from disciplines such as cardiology and pathology, so that clinicians will be able to access all the relevant information about a patient from a single interface. “The clinical management that this offers has improved. You have the ability as a clinician to have, in one hit, the information at your fingertips that offers you the wide history of this patient,” said Davies. “It becomes uniquely patient-centered.” All the PACS and RIS data will be stored at an offsite data centre by GE partner Cable and Wireless. Implementation began in December 2012. Davies said that the process had not always been smooth and that the migration of data from CSC had proved challenging, but that it was on target to be completed by the end of ... Read more

Providers: Consider VNA, Cloud Computing During PACS …

While the U.S. PACS market is relatively mature, providers continually are thinking about replacement options. In a commentary published at AuntMinnie, Herman Oosterwijk, president of Aubrey, Texas-based OTech, a healthcare imaging and IT company, ... Read more

PACS/RIS Refresh Reaches London
 …

The shake-up of England’s PACS/RIS market is well underway, with trusts in London becoming the latest to start work on plans to exit from the national programme contracts drawn up a decade ago. The latest research from EHI Intelligence shows that the refresh is taking place in clearly defined waves as the result of the different contract end dates and intervention by the former Department of Health and NHS Supply Chain. It also suggests that the refresh is opening up new opportunities for suppliers, particularly PACS vendors shut out of the National PACS Programme, and, to a lesser extent, storage suppliers looking to supply vendor neutral archives to trusts leaving the national data stores. Report author Lindsay Bell said: When the end of the national contracts first came into view, there was considerable concern that the market would not be able to cope.“However, it appears that the refresh is happening in a fairly orderly fashion. This is giving trusts time to consider their options, and suppliers time to pitch for business and, hopefully, get new systems in place where that is the choice that trusts have made. “There is going to be considerable activity in the market through to 2016, and trusts seem genuinely excited by the possibilities that are opening up for them.” The National PACS Programme was set up in 2004 to digitise the imaging processes of the two thirds of English trusts that were still using film. It split the country into clusters and appointed a local service provider for each. The first wave of activity has been triggered by trusts in those areas where CSC was the LSP, since its national contracts expire this June. Trusts in these areas have either gone out to OJEU tender or made use of a framework contract drawn up by NHS Supply Chain to secure new deals, or make ‘tactical’ moves to secure their existing services. The next two waves of activity will occur as trusts in the areas where Accenture and BT were the LSPs decide what to do as their national contracts come to an end, and as trusts making ‘tactical’ decisions in the first two waves move onto more ‘strategic’ solutions. In London, the PACS programme team is working with trusts to place them into one of three exit phases: early exit (prior to 30 June 2014), exit on expiry, and continuation of service (until 31 July 2015 at the latest). EHI Intelligence’s latest report builds on a 2012 study of the PACS/RIS market, ‘Seeing is believing’, which predicted that GE Healthcare, the incumbent PACS supplier in the CSC regions, would struggle to maintain its dominant position. This has been borne out in practice, with a number of new PACS companies securing business. However, HSS has maintained its position as the dominant RIS supplier. Going forwards, Bell predicted that the large number of trusts making ‘tactical’ decision was likely to give incumbent suppliers a bigger advantage than they have enjoyed so far. “They now have an opportunity to show trusts they can provide good value for money, good service, and new products, free of the shackles imposed by the national contracts,” she argued. Other lively sections of the digital imaging market include managed services, vendor neutral archiving, and standards-based systems; although many trusts seem reluctant to invest in the latter until they see other local trusts doing the ... Read more

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