PACS/RIS ‘set for two waves of change’

  • 30 August 2012
PACS/RIS ‘set for two waves of change’

The digital imaging market in England will undergo two waves of change that will pose a significant challenge to suppliers but benefit trusts looking for innovation at keen prices.

A new report from EHI Intelligence on picture archiving and communications systems and radiology information systems investigates the impact of the PACS/RIS contracts placed by the National Programme for IT in the NHS.

It notes that while the roll-out of PACS is considered one of NPfIT’s few big successes, it may also have stifled innovation and led trusts to pay higher prices than they may have secured outside the programme.

NPfIT’s local service provider contracts are now coming to an end, and the report – ‘Seeing is believing: England’s PACS/RIS refresh’ – argues that this will lead to two waves of change.

The first wave is already under way, as trusts in many areas of the country test the market, either on their own or in collaborative procurements.

The second wave will follow as trusts that are taking a tactical approach now look to take a more strategic approach in the future.

In both waves, the report predicts that there will be scope for new entrants; a conclusion borne out this week when Insignia Medical Systems, which has a small installed base in the NHS won a significant deal from a consortium of trusts in the South West.

Report author Lindsay Bell said: “Our research suggests that as the PACS/RIS refresh progresses, competition is going to be keen.

"This looks like a good time for the NHS to get the seemingly impossible – systems that can do more but cost less.”

So far, only trusts in the clusters where Accenture was the local service provider have been offered a deal to extend their existing PACS contracts, and 24 trusts (75%) have accepted, securing much of Agfa’s existing customer base.

There has been more activity in the clusters were CSC was the local service provider, with a number of individual trust and collaborative procurements under way.

The outcomes to date suggest that the incumbent supplier, GE Healthcare, may struggle to retain its market share.

In London, trusts have an additional year in which to consider their options, but Sectra, the incumbent supplier with 17 PACS installations, will face a challenge from other PACS suppliers and from EPR suppliers with PACS offerings.

Meanwhile, many trusts may decide to use a new framework drawn up by NHS Supply Chain to make tactical decisions followed by more strategic investments, adopting either a ‘single supplier’ or a ‘best of breed’ approach.

Bell added: “Everybody is focused on the end of the national programme’s contracts in 2013 and 2014, but that is unlikely to be the end of change in the market.

"We expect to see a second wave of activity, making the PACS/RIS market very lively for a number of years.”

The ‘Seeing is believing: England’s PACS/RIS market refresh’ report is priced at £995 and can be purchased by contacting EHI Intelligence’s sales manager Dan Read

The report is the first part of this year’s Market Forecast Report from EHI Intelligence, which will be published in full in November. All of the reports in the series are based on data held in the EHI Intelligence NHS Trust Database, which holds validated data on the major IT systems in use across the NHS, original interviews and expert analysis of tenders and other documents.

For more information about EHI Intelligence, the market forecast series and the database, visit EHI Intelligence’s dedicated webpages

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