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Agfa nets first award under DIN-PACS project


Agfa nets first award under DIN-PACS projectCompany also lands large-scale commercial site Agfa's pursuit of purchase orders under the military's Digital Imaging Network-Picture Archiving and Communications Systems project has begun to

Agfa nets first award under DIN-PACS project

Company also lands large-scale commercial site

Agfa's pursuit of purchase orders under the military's Digital Imaging Network-Picture Archiving and Communications Systems project has begun to pay off. The PACS giant finally landed its first DIN-PACS purchase order, with the Pentagon Clinic choosing the Agfa consortia for its PACS purchase.

In a contract valued at approximately $1.5 million, the Pentagon Clinic will buy a PACS network including a magneto-optical disk-based archive, four diagnostic workstations, and about 70 clinical review workstations. A RIS from Cerner will also be installed.

As part of the order, Agfa will integrate the PACS at Pentagon Clinic with Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC. Walter Reed has a PACS network from the military's previous Medical Diagnostic Imaging Support (MDIS) project.

Installation at the Pentagon Clinic is expected to begin the first quarter of 1999, with a completion date scheduled for the second quarter. In the meantime, site preparation and preliminary integration work with the Walter Reed PACS will begin.

Although the dollar amount of the order is well below other DIN-PACS sales to date, the purchase represents an important milestone for the Agfa team, which includes Cerner for RIS offerings, Cabletron Systems for networking components, and Mitra Imaging for RIS integration. With the first purchase order in hand, the team can leverage off the Pentagon Clinic award for future DIN-PACS sales.

"We're looking forward to this as an opportunity to demonstrate to the government our skills and capabilities in PACS, as well as in the integration arena," said Bob Cooke, director of network solutions for Agfa of Ridgefield Park, NJ.

Although many in the industry believed that Agfa would quickly seize the lion's share of DIN-PACS orders, due to its dominance in the private sector, that scenario hasn't materialized. The consortium led by IBM received the first DIN-PACS orders for a total of $32.3 million (PNN 4/98).

Agfa has worked hard to build its government sales organization, however. In recognition of the unique nature of DIN-PACS and government purchasing, Agfa earlier this year launched MIL-PACS, an organization dedicated to pursuing DIN-PACS and other government sales (PNN 5/98). MIL-PACS is headed up by John DeSantis.

Some PACS market watchers had speculated that Agfa's lack of an NT solution might have dicouraged purchase orders. While the military is expressing significant interest in NT, the Pentagon Clinic order is evidence that support for NT is not the only purchasing factor. In fact, Sun's Unix platform still has strong support in some segments of the military, Cooke said.

"Sun offers us a great deal of capabilities that are not possible on NT; primarily, the scalability and reliability of the platform, not only in archiving and infrastructure, but also in diagnostic display," he said.

Even so, the Navy has mandated that all information systems purchases must be NT-based solutions. Although that directive was not part of the DIN-PACS contract, it certainly has an impact in that realm. Agfa is developing the next generation of its Impax PACS software to run on both NT and Sun environments, although the firm has no plans to abandon its Sun-based solution, Cooke said.

As Agfa's military efforts progress, the company's commercial success continues. In addition to a large filmless hospital in Oregon (see story, page 2), the vendor recently was awarded a $5 million large-scale PACS contract from St. Luke's-Roosevelt Medical Center in New York City.

St. Luke's will employ magneto-optical disk archive for mid-term storage and a digital linear tape (DLT) archive for long-term storage. Diagnostic and clinical review workstations will be installed, as will an Agfa CR reader. The site will also be linked up with Beth Israel Medical Center, which is part of the same integrated delivery network as well as another large-scale Agfa PACS site. Installation at St. Luke's is slated to begin late this year, with completion of the filmless environment expected by the second quarter
of 1999.

The order will also include Agfa's Web 1000 image distribution product, which is moving closer to general release. The Web-based offering has been installed in demonstration sites at the University of Maryland Health System in Baltimore, New England Baptist Hospital in Boston, and Credit Valley Hospital in Ontario, Canada.

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