Thursday, February 03, 2005

PACS Selection Committee 2003, part I

I tried to convince the PACS Selection Committee to reconsider Amicas after they had eliminated all but GE, Fuji, and Agfa.....

To the Committee:

First, I would like to thank ........ for clarifying this issue. The minutes of a committee within a public entity may be subject to scrutiny, especially with a project of this magnitude, and they must reflect events exactly as they occurred.

Secondly, our experience with ScImage has taught me that one person should not fiat the purchase of a system as complex as PACS. The expertise of many has to be brought to bear. I was placed on this committee because of my Radiology experience, as well as my training in computers and electronics, and in addition, I have gathered a fair amount of information about PACS over the past several months. Even so, I was not allowed to review much of the data that came into the ........, and my opinion was not sought. To function as a committee, all members require full access to information, and full participation in the decision making process. I intend to participate in this decision; I would not try to make it myself even if that were possible. To that end, I will try to condense what I have learned into the next few paragraphs.

As I stated in the meeting of November 24, 2003, I have had the opportunity to test the products of all seven original vendors at the Society of Computer Applications in Radiology (SCAR) meeting earlier this year. I have been in touch with numerous friends, colleagues, and references concerning several of the products, both by phone and email as well as I have been on site visits sponsored by GE and Fuji. Although they were not made directly available to me, I have reviewed the Cap Gemini/Ernst & Young report as well as the replies to the RFI from Philips, Amicas, and GE. I have also reviewed recent KLAS reports and product comparisons from Reilly Communications, who publish Imaging Technology News/MEEN.

The Cap Gemini report narrowed the field down to Agfa, Amicas, Cerner, Fuji, GE, and Siemens, with Philips apparently being added later. (Most of us were not aware that Philips was already present within our hospital as a Cardiology PACS.) When I reviewed their report, much looked familiar; most of the information appeared to be either a recapitulation of the material we gave them during interviews, or alternatively a summary of facts from the vendors’ web sites.

As above, I have examined only three of the replies to the RFI. My read was significantly different, apparently, than that of others. Philips, GE, and Amicas all appeared to be able to fulfill the requirements. GE sent a veritable encyclopedia, fleshed out by dozens of pages of Xeroxed standard information. Many answers were in the form of long duplicate paragraphs that were copied and pasted into several locations. Amicas answered most questions too briefly, basically saying “yes” when they could perform a function. Philips’ response appeared to have been prepared the most carefully of the three.
The status of the individual companies in the PACS market may best be derived from the KLAS report; the most recent is summarized in these graphs, the first from 7/2003, and the second and third from 4/2003:

Klas Vendor Ratings Posted by Hello

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