Gateshead NHS takes first step towards single patient record

Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust has migrated a million radiology cases to a new archiving system to help provide clinicians with a single patient record.

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Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust has migrated over a million medical studies to a new archiving system, it announced today.

The trust’s radiology images and notes, which include X-Rays, MR, CT and ultrasound scans, support more than 170,000 medical examinations every year.

The move will help Gateshead to aggregate all of its data so they can provide it back to clinicians as a single patient record, which it hopes will help to improve care and save money by reducing the need for paper.

The trust is using a new picture archive and communication solution (PACS) from Carestream and a vendor neutral archive (VNA) from healthcare software firm Bridgehead.

The decision to move to the new system was sparked by the imminent expiry of the existing PACS contract with Accenture in June 2014, signed in 2007 as part of the National Programme for IT.

The trust eventually plans to use the VNA as its single archive for all clinical imaging, including scanned documents, endoscopy and medical photographs, and potentially other types of data too.

The fact the archive is vendor neutral was a major selling point for the trust as it means it is free to change the hardware hosting the solution in its datacentre, according to radiology IT systems manager Clare Jones.

The data was converted from to the non-proprietary ‘DICOM’ standard, meaning the trust won’t need to undertake another costly, time-consuming data migration again should it choose to change provider in future, she explained.

“This has really put us ahead of the game in terms of localising and taking control of our data...it’s helped future proof us so we won’t need to do this sort of massive migration ever again,” Jones said.

“We’ve also got a more resilient architecture. It’s given us the confidence that the solution is far more robust than we had previously, so we can protect our data if disaster struck,” she added.

The initial project was just for the radiology department, but the senior IT team are now planning to roll it out across the trust, according to Bridgehead’s CEO Jim Beagle.

“Initially this is for the radiology department, but we expect to see more and more applications coming on board,” Beagle told ComputerworldUK.

“It means Gateshead can control the data, be confident about the way it’s protected and ensure it’s done in a cost effective manner.

“It frees them up to decide which applications to refresh, renew, replace and retire, and make those decisions based on the benefit the application brings to the clinician.”

Image credit: ©iStock/avajjon

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