The James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has signed a ten-year managed services contract with Sectra to deliver a picture archiving and communication system and a vendor neutral archive.

The PACS and VNA will replace the trust’s GE Healthcare PACS, acquired as part of the National Programme for IT.

Although the trust’s contract with CSC, the NPfIT local service provider, terminated at the end of June, the data was provided to the trust on a storage device.

It has also agreed a contract with GE Healthcare to continue providing the existing PACS until March 2014. The trust procured its HSS radiology information system independently of the NPfIT, so a RIS was not part of the latest procurement.

James Paget began the procurement process through the Official Journal of the European Union in October 2012.

After the initial prequalification questionnaire, the trust evaluated suppliers on technical and commercial criteria.

It also carried out a heuristics trial, in which suppliers came on site to demonstrate their systems while PACS experts in the trust scored the systems against predefined questions.

Sectra had the highest combined score of the suppliers, but the trust also found the company’s Evergreen upgrade programme particularly attractive, said Ryan Smith, radiology IT and administration services manager.

“We liked the idea that we wouldn’t have any radical upgrades happening. The Evergreen programme rolls out upgrades in fairly gentle releases.

"We knew that we weren’t going to get halfway through our contract period and then have them release a brand new PACS product that we would then need to pay for if we wished to remain at the forefront of PACS functionality.”

The ability to use the functionality across the trust, not just in radiology, also appealed, said Smith.

“Previously, we used 14 reporting stations with full software installs within our radiology department, but if we needed that functionality elsewhere in the trust, we had to pay for quite expensive hardware and software procurements to install it.

"With an all-you-can-eat software licence across the board, we can now just use one of our existing domain PCs and install it there, and the software element is free of charge. So we can use the full range of the Sectra functionality across the trust whereas before it was concentrated in radiology.”

The new PACS will also import data from the existing mammography system from MIS Healthcare. “If we could consolidate our mammography systems in the same system at the same time then that was going to be advantageous to us all,” said Smith.

The VNA wasn’t specified in the original tender document. “We made sure that we left it quite open so the supplier could come up with their own [storage] solution,” said Smith.

Long-term, the Sectra VNA may be used to store images from other departments: “We have areas like cardiology and medical illustration, where there is potential that we can look at a single repository in the future, and having a VNA in place really helps that kind of approach.”

Work on implementation of the new PACS will begin in November and is expected to be completed in January 2014.