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Sint-Rembert and Sint-Augustinus hospitals share powerful MRI scanner… and Amaron takes care of the interfaces

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In July, two Belgian hospitals – Sint-Rembert hospital in Torhout and Sint-Augustinus hospital in Veurne – jointly put into service a 6000-kg MRI with a 3-Tesla magnetic field. The more powerful the MRI magnetic field, the sharper the images, enabling visualization of back or brain injuries at an early stage. To house this powerful MRI, installed at the site in Veurne, a bunker had to be built to prevent other electronics in the hospital from being impacted. At the same time, the two hospitals’ RIS and PACS, from different suppliers, had to be integrated. The project was an ideal fit for Amaron.

Patients from the region now go to Veurne for their MRI scans. The radiologists from Sint-Augustinus and Sint-Rembert alternate reading the images weekly. Although the radiologists are thus working at the Veurne site, they want to create their reports in their familiar RIS/PACS environment. To support this, the hospitals decided to store all images and reports on both systems.

Getting ready

Together with Amaron and PACS suppliers GE Healthcare and Agfa HealthCare, the ICT managers from Torhout and Veurne, Stefaan Bonne and Didier Boydens, took charge of this project. It was no easy task: they had to enable the exchange of orders for the exams, the MRIs and the related reports between the two PACS systems. This required, for example, translating patient and clinician data in the messages, to enable them to be matched with the data in the parallel PACS system.

“At Amaron, we took care of the project planning, the distribution of the messages over both systems, and their translation,” explains Sofie Neyrinck, project leader at Amaron. “The project went smoothly, largely thanks to the IT teams of both hospitals. They had the appropriate web services at their disposal and a clear vision on how to achieve the integration. After a week of testing, we could go live. During the project, we did have a few live meetings, but overall we were able to manage almost everything remotely.”

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“The complexity of the set-up – two different PACS suppliers and software/workflows in both hospitals – made this a huge challenge. In addition, the critical nature of medical and administrative patient data in the hospital requires us to always be able to guarantee a solid communication of data. Amaron managed this job in a very professional way, and they still follow up on the daily flow.”

Didier Boydens, ICT Manager, AZ Sint-Augustinus Veurne

Sharing costs

Sophisticated medical devices, such as MRIs and PET scanners, are major investments, so more and more hospitals are looking into the possibility to collaborate and thereby share the costs involved.

Is your hospital considering a shared investment, and would you like to evaluate the integration options? Contact us, and together we can design a suitable solution for you.