by Diana Bradley
, Staff Writer | February 23, 2012
For the first time, a new platform enables PACS and RIS software and hardware services to be delivered directly to health care organizations, GPs and radiologists via cloud computing. This platform was presented at a poster session in relation to Pierre Boiron and Valère Dussaux's paper, "The Cloud Computing PACS-RIS Platform Program of Paris Experience," at the annual HIMSS conference in Las Vegas on Tuesday.
"This is the first time this has been done by means of a cloud computing platform," Dussaux, director of the Paris-based Region Sans Film (filmless region) program at GCS D-SISIF, told DOTmed News. "Nobody else has done this as far as we know."
Previously, local platforms delivered PACS services within health care organizations, but hospitals were having trouble managing image archives after several years of use due to increasing maintenance costs, explained the paper. But this new platform, delivering PACS and the archiving of imaging services from the cloud, mutualizes data storage from different health care organizations.
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Through the Healthcare Cooperation Group for the Development of Shared Healthcare Information Systems in the Paris Region, the French Ministry of Health initiated the Region Sans Film program to deliver PACS and RIS health care IT applications to the Ile de France, one of the country's most populous regions. A consortium between Orange's cloud infrastructure and GE Healthcare was established to deliver digital cloud-based SaaS PACS, RIS and archiving services to hospitals, enabling image distribution among local GPs.
The platform's methodology includes outsourcing and pooling not only IT infrastructure, but also PACS and RIS software solutions. Through this platform, not only are diagnostic turnaround times expected to quicken, but GPs will have easier access to patient images.
With approximately 50 percent of French hospitals still using film-based imaging scans, the project's name is derived from the observation that the "time had come for all the radiologists of the region to use computers instead of film (or paper) which were formerly used to print the images on in order to analyze them," the paper noted. But not even one year after the first establishment went from test phase to full deployment in April 2011, 515,000 patient examinations are now stored, which can be viewed using the platform.
The creation of these software services, combined with higher Internet connection speed, will contribute to the development of new business services, such as offshore radiology services worldwide, the paper predicted.
"Our project has already helped a lot of users in the greater Paris region, as well as more infrastructures in the health care industry who are now able to acquire PACS solutions because the price is decreasing due to higher utilization," said Dussaux.