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Government & policy

Infoway and Agfa reach preferred solution agreement

TORONTO – Canada Health Infoway (Infoway) and Agfa HealthCare, a leading provider of diagnostic imaging solutions, have reached a Preferred Solution Agreement (PSA) providing preferential conditions and pricing for Agfa HealthCare’s IMPAX 6 Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) and Viewer as well as its IMPAX Data Centre and Diagnostic Imaging Repository (DI-r). This is the second time Infoway and Agfa HealthCare have achieved a Preferred Solution Agreement.

The Canada-wide PSA provides reduced prices for Canadian hospitals and jurisdictions who join together to implement a common PACS and DI-r infrastructure. The agreement provides the advantage of lower pricing for these groups than if they negotiated terms individually, while also encouraging regional inter-operability through shared services.

Diagnostic imaging and PACS refer to systems that allow X-rays, MRIs, ultrasounds and CT scans to be captured, viewed and transmitted electronically from one site to another. These systems replace conventional X-ray film and greatly improve access to patient information. Diagnostic imaging repositories provide a secure environment for the storage and retrieval of diagnostic images and reports. Patients directly benefit from DI-r and PACS by the elimination of duplicate exams and unnecessary patient transfers, as well as better treatment for residents of remote communities thanks to improvements in distance reporting for radiologists.

“Diagnostic imaging and picture archiving and communication systems bring great value to the Canadian healthcare system, allowing physicians to instantly access, share and store images anytime, anywhere with anyone who needs them,” said Richard Alvarez, CEO of Canada Health Infoway. “We’re happy to re-establish this agreement with one of the leading companies in this space. Agfa HealthCare has consistently shown its capacity to get the job done and they have a solid track record of successful projects with Infoway and its partners.”

Previous Agfa HealthCare projects that have received Infoway funding include the implementation of a province-wide DI and PACS network in Nova Scotia and the Ontario-based Hospital Diagnostic Imaging Repository Services Incorporated (HDIRS) a partnership of hospitals, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and Infoway, that allows diagnostic images to be shared electronically among a network of 35 participating hospitals.

Agfa HealthCare has also worked on Infoway-funded PACS and DI-r projects across Canada in areas such as the Northwest Territories, Manitoba and New Brunswick.

“Agfa has seen great value in our relationship with Canada Health Infoway and we’re pleased to achieve a Preferred Solution Agreement once again,” said Dave Wilson, vice president of Agfa HealthCare in Canada. “Our PACS and DI-r systems are proven solutions that significantly benefit both the clinical user as well as the patient, so we look forward to continuing to support and drive Canada’s effort in connecting digital diagnostic images and reports, regardless of manufacturer.”

In 2008, Infoway commissioned an independent study to evaluate the benefits of DI-r and PACS. The Diagnostic Imaging Evaluation Benefits Report found evidence that digital DI and PACS result in faster diagnosis times, less duplication of exams, improved remote reporting for radiologists, and increased productivity and efficiency for radiologists, technologists and referring physicians. The report concluded the full implementation of digital imaging, PACS and DI-r would add the equivalent of 500 radiologists to the healthcare system and eliminate up to 17,000 unnecessary patient transfers annually.

According to Infoway, once fully implemented across Canada, it is estimated that PACS and DI-r will generate between $850 million and $1 billion in health system efficiencies, including increased clinical productivity and reduced patient transfers, duplicate exams and films costs.

Posted Dec. 24, 2009

 

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