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Consortium to Implement Services for Sharing Medical Images to Healthcare, Radiology Facilities Across Alsace, France

By Medimaging International staff writers
Posted on 29 Jan 2014
A new project has been initiated with a goal to archive and share more than one million imaging exams per year among 53 facilities in Alsace, France. The project is a major part of the regional imaging strategy and future telemedicine projects in the Alsace region.

Agfa HealthCare (Mortsel, Belgium) and Worldline (Bezons, France), acting as a consortium, have won the SIMRAL (Alsatian regional medical imagery services) project to provide a bundle of shared medical imaging services for the entire region of Alsace, following a 12-month competitive dialogue procedure.

Alsace e-santé, the coordinator for a grouped procurement for the SIMRAL project, will deploy a novel system for sharing medical images across the region, along with consolidated functions for vendor-neutral archiving (VNA), image management with picture archiving and communication system (PACS), and radiology information system (RIS), together with Agfa HealthCare and Worldline.

SIMRAL, with the active support of the Alsace Regional Health Agency (ARS Alsace), aims to enable the sharing and archiving of more than a million imaging exams each year. Five healthcare organizations that will take part in a pilot phase began January 2014. Overall, 53 healthcare enterprises and radiology practices in Alsace, which are members of the SIMRAL purchasing group, will subscribe to the service bundle.

“Essentially, with SIMRAL, facilities will share a solution comprised of various services. Each adherent may sign up to services based on their specific needs, using a pay-per-use principle. In this way, regional professionals have access to the most up-to-date imaging technology. One major challenge will be image sharing to develop the regional telemedicine projects. We chose the Agfa HealthCare/Worldline consortium for the quality of their offering, the methodology and their ability to deliver the necessary competencies for this innovative project,” highlights Christine Lecomte, project director, Alsace e-santé.

SIMRAL is a major project for Agfa HealthCare, and the first regional project in France with such a large scope, covering pooled, hosted services for PACS, RIS, VNA, and image sharing for healthcare professionals. “Secure, immediate and direct access to medical images will allow physicians to improve their follow-up of patients, especially in cases involving cancers or chronic illnesses,” remarked Dr. Pascal Charles, manager of Alsace e-santé and independent pulmonologist. “SIMRAL will also make it possible to eliminate unnecessary examinations and to thus decrease the risks associated with cumulative radiation dose and use of contrast agents.”

The regional deployment will be conducted jointly by Agfa HealthCare and Worldline and coordinated by Alsace e-santé. “This project will contribute to a regional strategy for information sharing that will benefit patients. It is also the foundation of future telemedicine services,” said Gaston Steiner, director of Alsace e-santé.

“SIMRAL represents an ambitious challenge for Agfa HealthCare. We will use our experience with major international projects to ensure its success. The French market can also benefit from these advances, which create innovation in the way they are used. The association with our partner Worldline offers a perfect complement to meet the specific needs of patients’ care,” stated Ingrid Merckx, general manager, Agfa HealthCare France.

“Sharing health information within a secure environment is the core business of Worldline. Targeted towards radiologists and clinicians, SIMRAL will benefit the medical practice. Worldline, as an infrastructure supplier approved for hosting healthcare data, wants to support regional healthcare strategies and to streamline patient care,” explained Claude France, general manager of Worldline France.

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