Kingston NHS trust signs major imaging deal in fallout from scrapped NPfIT

Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has signed a major medical imaging contract with SynApps Solutions.

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Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has signed a major medical imaging contract with SynApps Solutions.

SynApps will "repatriate" 19TB (terabytes) of radiology content to the trust’s premises, where it will be held in an interim picture archiving and communications system (PACS) before being replicated to a SynApps/EMC vendor-neutral content archive.

Currently, Kingston Hospital’s medical image archive library is hosted in a BT data centre. Following the end of the scrapped NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT) arrangements, this hosting contract will end in July 2015.

SynApps, which will drive the project, is working in partnership with PACS specialist Sectra to repatriate the off-site medical image library. Work will be underway by January 2014.

Transferring 19TB of content over the secure N3 NHS network will take a long time - the plan is a migration rate of 2TB a month.

Norman Harling, deputy director of information management and technology at the trust, said: “2015 is not only our deadline for leaving BT, but also for replacing the PACS contract, so we needed a decent safety margin to ensure we had all our images back in time.

“We’ve been sending images to BT since 2006, with volumes of around 250,000 radiology investigations a year, so this is not a small job."

He added: “Once we have extracted the content from the existing PACS and moved contract, we will release a lot of cost - upwards of £250,000 a year.”

The interim PACS platform provided by Sectra will act as a working store for the medical image content until the trust’s longer-term PACS strategy has been finalised.

In the meantime the trust will replicate the medical image content to a SynApps vendor-neutral archive (VNA) platform. This will allow the content to be managed more intelligently and incorporated within the trust’s wider plans for electronic patient records (EPR).

Harling said a more joined-up content strategy will bring additional benefits. At the moment specialities such as ophthalmology, cardiology and endoscopy each have their own discrete databases. In parallel to the PACS archive project he said the trust was exploring how it can bring these content stores into the VNA to open up access.