Two articles appeared in the last week showing just what a strong case there is for getting on with implementing Picture Archive Communication Systems (PACS) and the associated Radiology Information Systems (RIS).
First we have:
Canada Health Infoway finalizes preferred solution agreement with GE Healthcare for diagnostic imaging solutions
August 7, 2008 (Toronto) - Canada Health Infoway (Infoway) today announced it has negotiated preferential conditions and pricing with GE Healthcare Canada through a Preferred Solution Agreement for their Centricity Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS) and Diagnostic Imaging Repository (DI-r).
Diagnostic imaging and PACS refers to systems that allow X-rays, MRIs, ultrasounds and CT scans to be captured, viewed and transmitted electronically from one site to another. These systems replace conventional X-ray film and greatly improve access to patient information. Diagnostic imaging repositories provide a secure environment for the storage and retrieval of diagnostic images and reports.
"The project investments made in diagnostic imaging are translating into real-time benefits and progress in diagnosis and treatment, providing clinicians and patients with more accurate results and reduced wait times," said Richard Alvarez, Infoway's president and CEO.
Through an Infoway project investment, British Columbia's Interior Health Authority demonstrated an overall average 41 per cent decrease in turnaround time for radiology results since the implementation of PACS. Similar technology provided by GE Healthcare at the province's Fraser Health Authority uncovered millions in annual cost savings by reducing film costs and storage space and increasing productivity. By 2010, Canadians will benefit from improved radiology services made possible by digital diagnostic imaging in all provinces and territories.
A key element of the Canada-wide agreement is preferential pricing for jurisdictions who implement a shared service where several hospitals agree to use a common PACS and DI-r infrastructure. GE Healthcare's commitment to adhere to pan-Canadian standards, and applicable privacy and security requirements, is covered in the agreement.
"This agreement will benefit our jurisdictional partners by reducing the cost and risk of implementing PACS and DI-r solutions," added Alvarez.
The Canada-wide agreement will help accelerate the implementation of electronic health records, making it simpler for provinces and territories to acquire a diagnostic imaging solution. GE Healthcare Canada joins Agfa Healthcare, Christie Group Ltd., McKesson Information Solutions, and Philips Healthcare as preferred solution providers for diagnostic imaging.
Infoway's Preferred Solution Agreements show that participating vendors like GE Healthcare have a deep understanding of the pan-Canadian EHR and the need to adopt established standards to ensure interoperability. While Infoway believes that these agreements offer significant value, the selection of specific vendors rests with the individual province or territory.
At the end of fiscal 2007/08, Infoway invested $316 million in 21 diagnostic imaging projects, currently completed or still in progress, across eight provinces and one territory. This is part of 254 electronic health record projects, representing $1.457 billion in investment since Infoway's inception.
Second we have
06 Aug 2008
Carestream Health, formerly Kodak Health, has announced that 37 privately owned French medical facilities are now using its Hosted Information Management (HIM) system, a pay-as-you-go system for remote archiving, storage and image sharing.
HIM is one of a number of eHealth Managed Services from Carestream Health designed to archive, share and distribute medical data more cost effectively and efficiently.
The company says that the contracts with the French customers will result in the annual storage of approximately 1 million imaging studies.
Customers range from individual imaging centres such as Centre Duroc in Paris to GCN St. Vincent, which has eight imaging centres and clinics around Rennes in the Ouest Region of France.
The HIM service from Carestream Health is aimed at hospitals and imaging centres choosing to manage the exponential growth of patient data by outsourcing for disaster recovery or multi site virtual archiving and workflow.
The services are based on a “pay as you go” model. According to Carestream this payment model is helping French healthcare providers overcome the need for high initial and ongoing costs of infrastructure, which it says represent the greatest barrier to healthcare IT adoption.
This led Carestream to develop the “Avenant 24” initiative, which offers financial incentives to private facilities in France implementing a digital archiving solution for radiology images.
The service is based on a GRID infrastructure that supports both local and remote storage and is powered by KODAK Versatile Intelligent Patient Archive (VIParchive) software, the leading radiology archiving platform that allows on site storage for quick access to data to be combined with off site storage at a data centre for protection, disaster recovery, data exchange and access.
Developed in Europe, the key advantages of Carestream Health’s remote archive services offer a flexible combination of on site and remote storage to meet existing workflows with on site storage ranging from a few days to several years. This model supports a virtual community with all sites connected, even where different PACS, modalities and workstations are operating
And as close to home as NSW we find NSW Health out to tender for a State-Wide PACS Archive – which will have more than the odd terabyte of data storage – to integrate picture information flows State wide.
There is just no excuse on quality, safety or convenience grounds not to invest in these systems. It is just silly that South Australia, for example, seems to want to wait to start even planning PACS until 2013-14 according to their master plan of March 2008! That would seriously discourage every radiologist who works in the SA Public Health System pretty severely!
SA should borrow the money and start saving lives and money today!