Agfa and GE demonstrate interoperability of globally distributed PACS

30 July 2008

The first globally distributed demonstration of PACS interoperability took place at the UK Radiological Congress (UKRC) in June in Birmingham, between Agfa HealthCare and GE PACS systems.

CT scans were shared over the internet between an Agfa IMPAX picture archiving and communication system (PACS) on the Agfa HealthCare stand and a similar system on the GE stand, with interaction with systems in France and the US, as part of an IHE XDS-I demonstration of web access to DICOM Objects (WADO).

IHE (Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise) aims to create a common framework for the sharing of information between medical information systems, such as PACS. XDS-I (cross-enterprise document sharing for images) allows clinical documents to be distributed between and accessed from different healthcare settings.

The demonstration let UKRC delegates see how IHE-compliant PACS make it simple to exchange clinical images between a district general hospital and a teaching hospital, for example, when a patient is booked in for a specialist appointment. In the past, images would need to be couriered or emailed between hospitals.

Visitors to the British Institute of Radiology stand at UKRC created a patient record and picked various CT scans at the IHE stand, details of which were then sent to the IBM index registry and repository based in Montpellier, France.

When they arranged a specialist consultation at a teaching hospital from the GE stand, the GE PACS instantly obtained an NHS Number from an Initiate PIX Manager in Missouri, US, before locating the right CT scans on the Agfa PACS by consulting the IBM systems. The images themselves were then pulled from the Agfa IMPAX PACS and automatically displayed on the GE system. Previous IHE demos in the UK used PACS, PIX Managers and registries all based onsite.

“It worked well and people were very impressed,” said Niall Monaghan, CEO of Radiation Consultancy Services and IHE-UK Secretary, who was one of the volunteers running the IHE demo and represents radiology users. “IHE in the UK ensures that different manufacturers’ products integrate together better.”

Grant Witheridge, national sales manager at Agfa HealthCare said: “We were delighted to be involved in this unique demonstration of interoperability. Helping make connectivity easier for our customers by ensuring Agfa equipment and software is compatible with that of other suppliers is a key part of Agfa HealthCare’s patient-centred approach.”

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