Following an open tender process a seven-year framework contract, valued at around £20 million, has been awarded to Fujifilm to provide a single Picture Archiving and Communications Service (PACS) for Wales. Savings will be realised as each of the health boards move across to the new service.
The new single solution was selected by representatives from Wales’ Local Health Boards and Velindre NHS Trust, with procurement managed by the NHS Wales Informatics Service.
Betsi Cadwaladr University Local Health Board (BCULHB) will be the first to go live with the new service this autumn.
Lesley Griffiths commented:
“This is an excellent example of public service organisations working as one to deliver real benefits for the people of Wales. By working together to buy a common service through a framework contract, significant savings can by achieved.
“Since digital imaging was introduced into our hospitals some years ago, we have seen how immediate access to medical images can improve the speed and effectiveness of diagnosis. However, problems in sharing images between organisations because systems were not compatible meant we have not been able to realise the full benefits of this technology.”
In today’s NHS Wales patient care takes place in many settings and in different treatment centres. Patients frequently receive treatment away from the place where the original x-ray or scan was taken.
This may mean a patient has to have a repeat scan or x-ray as the original images are not available, or treatment is delayed while the images are transferred. Some organisations transfer images by copying them onto a CD to send to the organisation where the patient is now receiving care, and others use a complicated electronic file transfer process.
The new single PACS service will mean all images, regardless of where they were taken originally, will be available where and when they are needed. Images to include x-rays, CT scans, medical photography and retinopathy will be held locally in a central archive.
Dr Keith Griffiths, Executive Director of Therapies and Health Science at BCULHB and chair of the PACS Programme Board commented:
“This contract will allow images used for the diagnosis and monitoring of disease to be interpreted and stored in the same system across the whole of Wales. A team at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, led by radiologist Dr Charles McConnell working with NWIS and the Wales Imaging community completed the work in under 18 months and will be first to install the system. This Framework agreement with Fujifilm not only modernises the way these images are interpreted and stored but allows significant financial savings to be made across all the Welsh Health Boards.”