Consortium in the UK to transform patient diagnostics with Sectra imaging system

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International medical imaging IT and cybersecurity company Sectra has signed a contract for radiology imaging with an NHS consortium in Surrey and Sussex in the UK. Some of the expected benefits following the contract are seamless radiology imaging access across hospitals, improved access to specialists, faster informed decisions and enhanced care for patients.

A consortium of NHS trusts that covers a population of circa 1.2 million will gain immediate access to important patient imaging, and will mobilize a regional workforce for patients, following a decision to procure a medical imaging system from Sectra. The contract, signed during the second quarter of the fiscal year 2021/2022, comprises the Sectra enterprise imaging solution and will be used across the hospitals to review and store imaging acquired throughout the diagnostic process including community diagnostic hubs. The solution will handle approximately 1.7 million examinations per year.

Everything from x-rays to ultrasounds, CT scans, MRIs and more will become instantly available to relevant healthcare professions across five trusts in Surrey and Sussex, regardless of where in the consortium a patient has had their medical imaging captured. This will help radiologists and other busy clinicians to make faster informed judgements for patients on a large range of clinical scenarios from cancer care to trauma cases and much more. The project will support faster turnaround of important diagnostic reports and will help scarce specialists to support hospitals across their region. The initiative will also help to avoid unnecessary duplicate scans and radiation exposure for patients, whilst removing the need for manual, time-consuming processes currently relied on in many parts of the NHS to share images between hospitals.

Dr Benjamin Salt, clinical lead for the consortium, who also works as a consultant interventional radiologist and deputy chief clinical information officer at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “Some of the biggest benefits will be for patients who move around the region as they are referred to specialist centres at different trusts – whether that’s for cancer care, trauma, vascular medicine, ophthalmology, head and neck, plastics, liver, pancreatic surgery and more.”

The project, initially focused on radiology and mammography imaging, covers large parts of Surrey and Sussex and will see the Sectra system deployed as a cloud-based solution. This will lessen the technology burden on hospitals and create conditions for potential expansion to additional specialties to embrace the benefits of integrated diagnostics.

The trusts involved are: Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust; Queen Victoria Hospital NHS Foundation Trust; Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust; and University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust. The system is also expected to link with two other trusts in the region and with London hospitals as needed, using open standards to make imaging discoverable and retrievable.

Dr Andrew Carne, a consultant radiologist, clinical lead and chief clinical information officer at Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Improved access to imaging will allow us to support a flexible workforce that can deploy across a regional area – that has got to be good for staff, patients, and turnaround times of reports at a time when some hospitals lack capacity. A radiographer at one trust might have capacity to help reduce another hospital’s backlog. With a regionally integrated imaging dataset, that model becomes possible.”

Jane Rendall, managing director at Sectra in the UK and Ireland, said: “Diagnostic imaging often underpins important clinical decisions that make a difference to safe and effective patient care. Having access to that imaging in a seamless way is essential. Whether enabling better access to sub-specialist expertise or changing diagnostic models to improve the speed of decisions, the trusts we are working with in Surrey and Sussex have shown a commitment to ensuring the right image is available to be reported at the right time and by the right person, for the benefit of their patients.”

The system is part of Sectra’s enterprise imaging solution, which provides a unified strategy for all imaging needs while lowering operational costs. The scalable and modular solution, with a VNA at its core, allows healthcare providers to grow from ology to ology and from enterprise to enterprise. Visit Sectra’s website to read more about Sectra and why it is top-ranked in ‘Best in KLAS’.