Informing Healthcare is planning a pilot for image sharing between picture archiving and communications systems across the country.

The PACS integration project will involve finding a solution for sharing images between the six PACS systems in use in Wales from Fuji, Agfa, Insignia (Steria), Carestream and GE and Ferrania.

A spokesperson for Welsh IT agency told E-Health Insider that the different systems have made it difficult to share images between care settings, so the benefits of PACS have been largely confined to individual organisations.

Informing Healthcare began working with health professionals in South East Wales late last year to evaluate potential solutions for image sharing.

Since then, it has been decided that a pilot should explore how image sharing can support cancer patients. This will take place across the South East of Wales, covering Cardiff, Velindre, Cwm Taf, Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University and Gwent Hospitals.

The spokesperson said: “As care and treatments for patients with cancer can take place in more than one care setting and involve a number of health professionals, a key objective is to make multi-disciplinary teams more effective by providing easy access to images, wherever care takes place.

“The images may be retrieved by clinicians using any general web-based work station making it easier to retrieve images taken and stored at hospitals in the South East Wales area.”

She added: “The PACS image sharing project will also give access to ‘relevant priors.’ These are images of the patient taken before cancer was diagnosed or in its early stages, and in a different setting from where the cancer treatment is taking place that provide the radiologist with vital information.”

The spokesperson told EHI that Informing Healthcare is due to run an OJEU procurement this month that will cover the hardware, software and services needed to integrate the existing PACS systems and image stores for the pilot project.

Following the procurement, the pilot is scheduled to begin at the beginning of 2010 and run for 12 months.

The pilot is running in parallel to another a major Welsh project to establish an All Wales Radiology Management System, which allows the sharing of information in order to support seamless patient care across all NHS Wales organisations.

The first stage of the RMS project is to upgrade all existing radiology information systems to one which can form the foundation for an All Wales RMS called Radis2.

The information on Radis2 is linked to the images held on the PACS through a unique identification number. The image sharing project will link the different PACS while publication, transfer and retrieval of images will be driven through Radis2.

Link: Informing Healthcare