Central North Island DHBs move to digital X-ray

$11m project shared between two health boards

Hospitals across the Waikato and Bay of Plenty are axing X-rays in a $10.5 million programme.

The Bay of Plenty and Waikato DHBs signed an agreement this week to use the Philips Healthcare’s Picture Archive and Communication System (PACS) software. Due for roll-out in September, the joint purchase is the largest PACS installation in the country.

The two DHBs will also share a single radiology information system (RIS) provided by Philips Healthcare from an Australian vendor, Kestral Computing.

RIS and PACS will integrate strongly so doctors can easily find all relevant patient information and images, the DHBs say. Under PACS, doctors and radiologists will view digital radiology images on desktops, in place of hardcopy X-rays.

“This technology enables simultaneous access to images for patient treatment, colleague consultation, teaching, rural hospitals support and advice. It will provide clinical staff with immediate access to images and reports at clinics and wards,” says Health Waikato COO Jan Adams.

Health Waikato is spending $5.9 million on the project and Bay of Plenty DHB $4.9 million.

It will end radiographers working with chemicals to process films. All radiology and cardiology images will in future be taken as digital images and stored in a central archive.

The upgrade links radiology departments and clinical staff across both district health boards at Tauranga and Whakatane hospitals, Opotiki medical centre, and hospitals at Hamilton, Te Kuiti, Tokoroa, Thames and Taumarunui.

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