The Republic of Ireland is in the final stages of selecting a supplier for a multi-million euro nationally integrated radiology and picture archiving and communication system, E-Health Europe has learned.

The Health Service Executive went out to tender for the PACS and RIS procurement in October 2008.

Several acute hospitals already have PACS implemented, principally the larger teaching and regional hospitals across Ireland. The aim is to install RIS and PACS in hospitals without the system and replace any out of date PACS in hospitals that implemented the system some years ago.

Gerard Hurl, national director of ICT for the Health Services Executive in the Republic of Ireland, told E-Health Europe: "The key objective is to make images available around the country. The solution will be firstly rolled-out in those hospitals that do not already have PACS or an image distribution process and then the others will follow.

"We only have indicative timescales the moment but we are hoping to have the system implemented in the 30 hospitals within a three year period, preferably earlier."

The solution is expected to digitise and store the full range of diagnostic imaging including ultrasound, x-rays, CT and MRI scans.

Although Hurl said that the preferred supplier had been chosen, he declined to name the supplier and the contract amount until the contract had been finalised.

He said: " The contract will be finalised very shortly, within the next month. However, the shortlist, which was reached some time ago included Cerner, GE Healthcare, Agfa Healthcare, Philips and McKesson."