Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Trust has completed a pilot procurement of community-wide Picture Archiving and Communications Systems (PACS) and Radiology Information Systems (RIS), in a move designed to provide a template for National programme for IT (NPfIT) procurements in PACS/RIS systems.

After a competitive procurement the trust has awarded Ferrania UK’s LifeImaging division a major contract to supply to supply its LifeWeb integrated Radiology Information System/Picture Archiving and Communication System (RIS/PACS) solution.

Ferrania UK won the seven-year contract as part of a managed services deal, the value of which was not disclosed.  The Trust is the third largest in the UK, covering three major acute teaching hospitals and a small community unit.

According to Ferrania the integration of the RIS into a single RIS / PACS system, is one of the first in the UK and the Computed Radiography (CR) content represents the largest ever single order placed for CR units in the UK, and one of the largest across Europe.

Under the deal the trust’s current film-based image capturing and archival management onto a full, seamless digital system that will be almost film-less within twelve months. Ferrania will install Digital Radiography (DR), CR and PACS systems in the four sites, as well as its LifeWeb imageManager image management solution.

The distributed image management solution provides a collaborative architecture where data is managed and intelligently distributed, and should enable rapid integration at the trust, while ensuring that it preserves investment in legacy systems.

Once different new and legacy imaging systems are fully integrated staff at the trust will be able to locate archival information from a number of different systems in a single query, and present it as one patient file.

Ferrania claims that its LifeWeb imageManager system is one of the few available in the market capable of integrating the archival information from a number of different legacy systems. 

Adrian Stevens, managing director Ferrania Northern Europe, commented: "We are naturally delighted that the Trust has put their faith in Ferrania to deliver the managed service to the Newcastle area, and to provide state of the art solutions for the patients and staff at this leading NHS Trust".

Paul Bottum, president of Acuo Technologies – Ferrania’s software archive partner at Newcastle – said: "The installation at Newcastle is the first in the UK to benefit from Acuo’s centralised administrative view to monitor the entire distributed medical imaging enterprise.

Mr Len Fenwick CBE, chief executive of the Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Trust, said the investment in an integrated PACS/RIS system is a major step forward for a large multi-site organisation, such as the Newcastle Trust. “This will allow patients’ images and reports to be viewed on any site irrespective of where they were examined. GPs will also have access to their patient’s images and reports from their surgeries.”

The installation is taking advantage of the latest advances in technology from Hewlett Packard, based on its Adaptive Infrastructure Solutions with Mirrored Storage Area Network communicating across the high resilient fibre network. The use of web technology allows access to the images and reports from any trust PC and controlled access from the wider community for GPs.

The Ferrania RIS / PACS solution is designed to fully integrate with the Integrated Care Records Service due to be delivered by the Accenture Alliance LSP, which on 8 December was awarded the 10-year NHS LSP contract for the North East of England.