Spanish tilt at a regional PACS

February 3, 2003

Spain has joined Finland, the U.K., and other nations in the development of regional PACS. An ambitious project in Castilla-La Mancha aims to link the region's 14 hospitals and 184 primary-care centers under the same PACS. Castilla-La Mancha, an area

Spain has joined Finland, the U.K., and other nations in the development of regional PACS. An ambitious project in Castilla-La Mancha aims to link the region's 14 hospitals and 184 primary-care centers under the same PACS.

Castilla-La Mancha, an area of approximately 50,000 sq mi, has a low population density supported by 1086 rural part-time healthcare centers scattered throughout the region in small villages.

"Patients are seen in these small healthcare centers, and when necessary they must go to the nearest reference hospital for many examinations, especially radiology studies," said Josep Fernandez Bayó, Sc.D., of the Medical Digital Imaging Center, UDIAT Centre Diagnostic Corporacio Sanitaria Parc Tauli, in Sabadell, Spain.

The regional concept aims to have the same PACS connecting each of the reference hospitals and primary-care centers.

"The PACS will be able to exchange images between different hospitals and between the different primary healthcare centers using Web technologies," Bayó said.

Bayó cited the main advantages:

?The patient's imaging information and studies will be available from any hospital or healthcare center in the region.
?Unnecessary radiology examinations will be reduced since all recent studies will be available on the PACS.

The project began with a pilot at the Complejo Hospitalario La Mancha Centro. The Web-based RIS developed there will soon be propagated to the other hospitals and integrated with a common HIS.

"The RIS has been integrated with the PACS developed in the UDIAT Diagnostic Center," Bayó said.

Likewise, the PACS archive has an integrated Web server with a DICOM Java viewer. RIS-PACS integration is based on XML and DICOM standards.

"We intend to replicate the PACS-RIS installation at La Mancha Centro in each hospital," Bayó said.

A central patient database for the entire region will control in which hospital the radiology reports and images are located. A Web-based system will allow the clinicians to consult the reports and images from any hospital or primary-care center.