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The Department of Health has set a deadline of 2006 for all NHS trusts to move film-based archiving of medical images into an electronic format called Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (Pacs).
In a forthcoming report Pacsnet, an evaluation group supported by the Medical Devices Agency on behalf of the Department of Heath, will advise NHS trusts on how to implement systems based on storage area networks.
The group has identified a Storage Network Industry Alliance specification that NHS IT managers can use to help them meet the health department's deadline for electronic archiving of medical images.
Dewinder Bhachu, head of Pacsnet, said the storage requirements for medical images differed from trust to trust and was dependent on criteria such as the types of studies individual trusts conducted, their expertise and their catchment area.
"The alliance model will help NHS IT managers compare products like-for-like," he said.
The specification, called the Shared Storage Model, provides reference models for different storage architectures.
Alan McBride, senior evaluator at Pacsnet, said the specification would help NHS trusts determine the architecture they need and their network storage requirements.