IBM lands more DIN-PACS bids with orders for 10 U.S. Army sites

April 1, 1998

IBM lands more DIN-PACS bids with orders for 10 U.S. Army sitesVendor leverages government contracting know-how for success If PACS market watchers weren't convinced that IBM is a big-time player in the industry, the recent award of 10

IBM lands more DIN-PACS bids with orders for 10 U.S. Army sites

Vendor leverages government contracting know-how for success

If PACS market watchers weren't convinced that IBM is a big-time player in the industry, the recent award of 10 contracts under the U.S. military's Defense Imaging Network-Picture Archiving and Communications Systems (DIN-PACS) contract should put any doubts to rest. The computer firm, in conjunction with its partners, has received orders for 10 U.S. Army sites for an approximate total value of $25 million.

With the $7.3 million contract for Portsmouth Naval Medical Treatment Facility in Portsmouth, VA, awarded in February (PNN 3/98), the consortium headed by IBM has now landed DIN-PACS contracts totaling $32.3 million. The lesser known IBM team has so far beat out commercial PACS powerhouse Agfa on all DIN-PACS orders, a development that has surprised many industry analysts.

The U.S. Army awards, issued at the end of February, were for the following: Brooke Army Medical Center, William Beaumont Army Medical Center, Fort Hood, Fort Sill, Fort Huachuca, Fort Leavenworth, Fort Riley, Fort Leonard Wood, Fort Polk, and Fort Carson. Installation at the sites is slated to begin in the early summer, with completion expected by the end of the year.

The latest round of DIN-PACS awards caught some industry observers off-guard. It had been widely expected that the next DIN-PACS contract would be for the Pentagon Clinic, which is the last remaining site named in the initial DIN-PACS RFP without a purchase order. That award is expected soon, however.

With a DIN-PACS purchasing ceiling of $250 million in 1998 and $1.25 billion over the next five years, it's understandable why IBM is devoting significant resources to its DIN-PACS program, called PowerPACS. IBM team members include ADAC Laboratories (radiology information system), Applicare Medical Imaging (workstation technology), Brit Systems (archives), DeJarnette Research Systems (connectivity products). Eastman Kodak, Imation, and Science Applications International fill out the rest of the squad.

At IBM, Bill McGarvey has been named project manager for PowerPACS, while SAIC veteran Joe Komperda is responsible for the technical implementation of the program, including testing and improving PowerPACS. As part of the product integration and testing process, IBM is setting up testing labs at sites in the U.S. and worldwide. The labs will be in place by mid-April, said David Anderson, IBM client executive for federal medical customers.

Ann Borett from IBM's global government industry division is charged with the marketing effort for PowerPACS. The company exhibited at the 1997 Radiological Society of North America meeting in December as well as the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society show in Orlando in February. It has also marketed directly to individual clients, Anderson said.

IBM doesn't plan to stop with its success in the DIN-PACS bidding process; the company is looking to extend its PowerPACS program to other government clients. The vendor is calling on all government customers that could potentially benefit from PowerPACS, including the Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Indian Health, and the National Institutes of Health. IBM has had some internal discussions about possibly applying the PowerPACS concept to the private sector, but no decision has been made, Anderson said.

While Agfa hasn't won any DIN-PACS contracts yet, it is devoting substantial resources to the DIN-PACS bidding process and is seeking to grow its expertise in governmental contracting. The company is mobilizing its direct sales force and devoting marketing and engineering resources to compete for DIN-PACS awards as well as other potential contracts in the governmental realm. It will not devote these resources, however, at the expense of its installed base or commercial clients, said Bob Cooke, director of image management systems for Agfa.

Agfa does have experience in implementing PACS at government locations, including several VA hospitals and the San Diego Naval Hospital. The company expects that its team-building efforts, as well as its large installed base in the private sector, will lead to dividends in DIN-PACS.

"We anticipate good news in the near future," Cooke said.

Other members of the Agfa team include Cerner (RIS), Mitra (RIS integration), and Cabletron (networking components).