The Department of Health (DH) has awarded Accenture a one-year contract extension to continue to provide picture archiving and communications systems (PACS) to NHS trusts in the north east and east of England/East Midlands areas that have chosen to extend their current service with Accenture.

The current contract will now run until June 2016, although the value of the contract extension has not been revealed.

Accenture’s PACS is a community-wide system that is used to electronically capture, view, store and distribute medical imaging (like X-rays and MRIs) digitally, rather than the old system of printing images onto film. So far the technology has been used by more than 90 hospitals covered by the contract, helping to improve patient care.

“PACS provides clinicians with easy access to medical images and enables them to make decisions more quickly," said Matt Oakley, who leads Accenture's medical images practice in the UK and Ireland.

The company will continue to manage a central data store, which provides trusts with a centrally-hosted, long-term image archive until June 2016. This enables trusts to postpone costs that would be incurred for "data localisation" - the process of moving their large imaging history in-house or to other providers.

Accenture is working with Agfa HealthCare, the software supplier for PACS and the central data store, and Hitachi Data Systems, which supplies storage for the central data store, to deliver the service.

According to a recent Accenture report, England's GPs lead the world when it comes to using IT, although doctors in hospitals are getting left behind other countries in IT use.