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Imaging system upgrade

Posted onPosted on 17th Sep

Patients at Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will soon be able to benefit from faster x-rays and other medical images delivered straight to their doctors’ computers, with an upgrade to the Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS).

It has been developed in conjunction with staff at the Trust, who had the opportunity to influence the specification to ensure it meets the needs of patients locally. It will be rolled out over the next 12 months by GE Healthcare across a consortium of seven NHS Trusts in the East Midlands, including Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. These trusts have worked together to secure a replacement for the existing system, which has been in place locally since 2006.

The upgraded PACS brings a range of new features which will enhance the overall healthcare experience for our patients. It is designed to allow previous images to be compared easily, even if they were obtained at a radiology department in one of the other six trusts – this will be particularly useful for patients who visit more than one hospital as part of their treatment. It will show reports and images to doctors and nurses across the hospitals so that they can make diagnoses and plan treatment, without needing to use specialised viewing workstations.

New features within the system will help radiologists to draw attention to urgent or critical findings. The system will support collaborative working across the region, such as the work of multi-disciplinary teams planning the care of cancer patients.

David Linacre, Head of Information Technology at Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “This latest development will, for the first time, allow clinicians across seven different Trusts instant highly secure access to all the available radiology images for a patient. Using cloud-based technology will allow real-time viewing of images and be straightforward to implement, despite this software being run across a number of Trusts with differing IT systems. This will deliver a real efficiency in the care received by any patient who has to be seen at more than one hospital during the course of their treatment.”

Dr Tim Taylor, consultant radiologist at Nottingham University Hospitals, who led the EMRAD clinical team through the procurement, said: “Radiology systems have developed hugely in the years since they were first installed nationwide and the better they are, the better we can diagnose and treat patients.

“Medics have led the consortium, so we know we have been able to focus on factors that make a real difference to patients, and because we’ve negotiated as a group, each hospital has a better deal for the NHS than it would have agreed alone.”

Matthew Stork, General Manager for GE Healthcare IT in the UK & Ireland said: “GE Healthcare is delighted to have been selected to work with the EMRAD consortium and to help Sherwood Forest Hospitals adopt new technologies to improve patient care and to make services more efficient.”