North West Wales NHS Trust is to implement LifeImaging PACS software from Ferrania across its nine hospitals, many of which fall in rural areas.

According to Ferrania, the filmless system will have particular benefits for the trust as it will save them money and time transporting copies of files between sites, as well as cutting down on the number of patients being transferred to sites with available radiographers.

Chris Bull, PACS and digital solutions manager at Ferrania, said: "We are delighted to have received this substantial order. Bringing this technology to remote locations where the benefits of the technology make a real impact is a particular area of expertise for Ferrania.

"The North West Wales team seems very focused on driving down operational costs and improving efficiencies across the Trust."

Ian Wilson, Ferrania’s UK business manager, told E-Health Insider: "The network is already up and running between the hospitals, so we will patch into that infrastructure. We have planned out the whole process."

The implementation comes after Ferrania installed CR equipment at Bryn Beryl Community Hospital, Pwllheli. Ferrania have also put in place PACS systems in England, including one at Newcastle Hospitals NHS Trust.

Wilson also told E-Health Insider that the system being implemented would be fully compliant with the NHS CRS.

The LifeWeb system, as its name suggests, is based around web architecture, and thus does not require any extra computer hardware or infrastructure, and integrates with the trust’s existing RIS system.

The RIS systems supplied by Ferrania are DICOM 3.0 and HL7-compliant, and feature booking and statistics generation software. Advanced services also include speech recognition and the ability to use smart cards for authentication.

In Informing Healthcare, the Welsh health service IT reform programme, PACS is not currently procured from a central point, and it is left to trusts to decide whether or not they wish to acquire the system. Therefore, the Ferrania contract was put out to tender by the trust itself in OJEC (Official Journal of the European Community.)

The official Welsh health IT strategy acknowledges that "PACS has the potential to save large amounts of time that is now spent hunting for images, and will reduce the inconvenience faced by patients". However, it also points out that the system is expensive. A further Diagnostic Services Strategy is due to be brought out concerning a co-ordinated implementation of PACS in the future.

The hospitals that the new system will cover include Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor, Llandudno General, Ysbyty Penrhos in Holyhead and Eyryri Hospital in Caenarfon.

Ferrania, an imaging company based in the US and in Europe, also supplies photographic products and supplies, inkjet cartridges and paper, and speciality film materials.