GE wins NHS contract

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GE Healthcare has won a contract from the United Kingdom's National Health Service (NHS) to implement digital imaging systems in more than 70 hospitals and clinics in England as part of the $18 billion initiative to digitize its healthcare system.

Fujitsu Services Ltd., the designated local service provider for the southern region of NHS's National Programme for IT, heads the consortium that chose GE to provide digital imaging technology. Also included in the consortium are IDX Systems, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Tata Consultancy Services and BT Group.

Under the terms of the agreement, GE will provide PACS technology to NHS hospitals in Southern England. The UK government announced in May that the NHS in England will install nationwide digital imaging systems that allow medical images of a patient to be transmitted on demand around hospitals and to remote sites for expert medical scrutiny and diagnosis. The National Programme for IT is being implemented into five regional clusters, the southern cluster (covering the South East and South West) being the largest with approximately a third of the country's PACS.

GE will supply PACS technology for the new digitized records system to its partner Fujitsu. The contract is valued at more than $200 million over eight years.

EMC Corp. will be a key figure in the deal as well, installing up to two EMC CLARiiON storage systems at each hospital site that supports GE's Centricity PACS Enterprise Edition application, according to Jerry Layden, EMC global account manager. Imaging data and files will be automatically stored for up to two years in the on-site CLARiiONs while simultaneously being copied for long-term archiving to one of two off-site regional data centers. Both data centers will use a cluster of EMC Centera storage systems for long-term archiving of images from the other hospitals, Layden said. Critical PACS application data also will be automatically replicated between both data centers for data protection and disaster recovery.