BUPA Hospitals has signed an agreement with Eastman Kodak Company’s Health Group to provide the private hospital chain with an integrated radiology information system (RIS) and picture archiving and communication system (PACS) across all of BUPA’s 26 UK hospitals.

The move will support the transition to a complete digital operation across the BUPA Hospitals network. Kodak will provide its Carestream Radiology Solution and Enterprise Information Management Solution platforms to enable image generation, storage and remote reporting within and between BUPA hospitals across the UK.

Carrie Armitage, head of IT for BUPA, told E-Health Insider, "We will be beginning deployment immediately. We’ve already started work on infrastructure including upgrading our WAN and communications equipment."

Armitage said that the first two or three hospital RIS/PACS deployments were due to happen by the middle of the summer. "Some of our hospitals like Gatwick Park have already migrated to a filmless environment and we’ll start with them." The aim is to implement at the remaining BUPA hospitals within another 12 months.

She added that an important part of the implementation would be to integrate RIS/PACS to the McKesson Star patient administration system in BUPA’s hospitals. "This is a big part of our move to electronic patient records. We’ve very much moving to operating as a network of hospitals."

Kodak will support the deployment with a range of professional services including project management, implementation and training. The Kodak solution will provide transition for the current diagnostic workload, plus a rapidly scaleable infrastructure to cater for future diagnostic service expansion.

The BUPA data centre will provide the hub for a clinical repository for long-term image storage and support image sharing between the 26 BUPA hospitals, plus secure web reporting across the BUPA Hospitals network. Local PACS will be deployed at each hospital to provide digital image capture from hospital modalities, local diagnostic reporting and web distribution of images.

“Deployment of Kodak Carestream solutions throughout the BUPA network will support the company’s future growth,” said Clare Hollingsworth, managing director, BUPA Hospitals Ltd. “The ability to share and display digital patient images between clinical sites will help us to maintain our high-quality patient care and improve radiologist workflow.”

"We are delighted that BUPA has chosen Kodak to deliver such an innovative e-health solution to its hospital network,” said Ian Marron, Kodak’s director of e-health Solutions Europe, Africa & Middle East.

Marron added: "Our ability to provide an integrated radiology and enterprise information management solution from one vendor, sets us apart from our competitors in the UK and across Europe. Where the local circumstances allow, Kodak continues to deploy market leading products and services that are enabling our customers to deliver substantial improvements in patient care."

Kodak’s RIS/PACS and storage management solutions are currently successfully deployed at more than 250 sites across the European Union.