Failsafe PACS contract guarantees success

March 24, 2005

Capital Health in Edmonton, AB, has decided to offload some of the risk that can come with purchasing a PACS. The institution entered into a risk-sharing agreement designed to guarantee film savings with its recent purchase of a RIS, PACS, and speech recognition package.

Capital Health in Edmonton, AB, has decided to offload some of the risk that can come with purchasing a PACS. The institution entered into a risk-sharing agreement designed to guarantee film savings with its recent purchase of a RIS, PACS, and speech recognition package.

Under terms of the Feb. 17 agreement, Agfa guarantees the financial, operational, clinical, and technical success of the implementation.

"The unique public-private risk-sharing agreement is a program where Agfa basically guarantees the success of the program and shares the risks of successful implementation," said Michael Green, vice president of Agfa Healthcare. "This includes work practices, as well as savings in film-related costs currently incurred by the Capital Health system."

The agreement has service levels and financial parameters embedded into it. Capital Health will pay a fixed fee for the services.

"If savings over and above those projected in the agreement are achieved, these are reinvested. If the service costs more, Agfa will assume the costs," Green said.

Overall cost of services is expected to decline, as the implementation includes a filmless and paperless environment.

"Not only do we guarantee a reduction in film costs, but we guarantee the reduction in film-related costs, as well," said David Sacks, designer of the program for Agfa.

Agfa calls the risk-free arrangement the Four Point Guarantee Program.

Film-related cost reductions targeted by the agreement include film, chemistry, and film-related supply costs. A service level agreement also runs for the full term of the contract, according to Sacks.

Another rarity in the implementation is the provision for the deep integration of all images and data generated by the radiology and cardiology departments. Most PACS implementations do not allow the two imaging entities to share information easily.

Green said infrastructure upgrades were necessary to accommodate additional storage and client capabilities for cardiac viewing.

The 13-hospital Capital Health system, Canada's largest academic health region, performs more than 750,000 imaging studies a year.