Expert development and system enhancements prove the “biggest success factors” for London North West Healthcare NHS Trust’s RIS replacement.
London North West Healthcare NHS Trust is one of the largest integrated care Trusts in the UK and the second busiest Trust in London, with services operating from hospitals Northwick Park, St Mark’s, Central Middlesex and Ealing. The Trust brings together hospital and community services across Brent, Ealing and Harrow and offers integrated specialist services from Clayponds Rehabilitation Hospital and various local hospices. Since the Trust’s establishment in 2014, it now employs more than 9,000 staff who provide clinical services to local and regional communities of over a million patients. In 2017, when they became a University Trust, London North West focused efforts on study and staff; they are active in clinical exploration and committed to research, education and training of their teams.
The busy Radiology service operates from each main hospital site. They offer a wide range of services from general radiography, fluoroscopy and ultrasound, to advanced modalities CT, MRI, NM and Interventional Radiology. The hi-tech nature of this department and volume of examinations performed (550k pa) mean that supporting equipment and technologies must be kept abreast of the latest sector innovations in order to meet both patient demand and national diagnostic requirements.
Like most NHS Trusts, London North West is reliant upon their core Radiology-based IT systems, principally the RIS and PACS, to manage the patient journey and the supporting clinical images. With their legacy RIS system, the department were able to carry out most routine tasks satisfactorily, but had difficulties with some of the more advanced functions of the RIS which hindered some workflows and introduced risk into others.
Adham Nicola, Systems Manager, comments:
“Although reliable, we had some issues with the size and overall complexity of our previous RIS. It was easy to make mistakes in some routine tasks. Some of its functions, including worklists, were quite dated and ‘clunky’ in design. The inbuilt voice recognition (VR) engine was prone to errors, and the statistics package was also quite difficult to navigate. We ended up using the Trust data warehouse for many of the more complex/statutory-type B.I tasks”.
Suspecting that they were reaching the limits of their current RIS capabilities and after receiving a certain amount of negative feedback from radiology staff, an internal questionnaire was circulated to better assess prevailing views on the system. The responses were fairly conclusive: numerous radiologists, radiographers, and administrators expressed dissatisfaction with the current RIS and requested that the system be replaced with a more intuitive solution. Elsewhere, the survey’s content affirmed what Adham had already considered to be key criteria for a replacement RIS. Having used a relatively inflexible RIS application for two years, they knew that they required a solution that was simple and contemporary in design and innovative for future proofing of the Trust’s investment. As they were still happy with the functionality and performance of their incumbent Sectra PACS, integration with Sectra was crucial to optimise the radiology workflow.
Ashish Kerai, Lead PACS Radiographer for the Trust, comments:
“We were keen for the replacement system to be faster, simpler and more user-friendly. We identified other features that were at the top of our wish-list; advanced communications, such as email alerts and SMS messaging, Peer Feedback and user-accessible system audit trails were also very important to us.”
Whilst London North West was already in contract for PACS, the Trust started to pursue a RIS from alternative vendors. Adham and the team already knew the market’s main players and, after having a previous positive experience some years before, they approached Soliton IT to establish whether their Radiology+ RIS offering could meet all their original OBS requirements. The system scored well and as the Trust had recently had a successful on-site system demonstration from Soliton, with Sectra’s support, they decided to proceed with the replacement of their RIS with Soliton Radiology+ – the UK’s market-leading RIS developer.
Soliton IT is a UK-based RIS developer and supplier, with an excellent track record of bespoke solutions enhancement and development. Amongst one of fastest-growing companies in its sector, Soliton IT has systems in hundreds of UK NHS hospitals, imaging clinics and private healthcare centres and has grown their product portfolio from a radiology workflow management platform to reporting modules, RIS and network sharing applications. With many years’ experience in integrating with Sectra PACS, Soliton IT’s Radiology+ RIS application, combined with their market-renowned development expertise, seemed the obvious choice for the Trust.
Radiology+ was deployed into London North West NHS Trust on 20th August 2018, across all three sites within eight months, and the Trust quickly saw the benefits of the new RIS. From an integration perspective, the system worked efficiently with Sectra PACS; Soliton IT also configured a single-sign-on (SSO) which was a feature that the Trust had been pursuing for some time. In terms of clinical functionality, Consultant Radiologists were particularly pleased with the electronic vetting capability – with the module even convincing some consultants who had refused to use the vetting module of the previous system to come on board. In addition, clinical reporting tasks were significantly improved with Radiology+’s concise reporting interface and class-leading standards of SpeechMagic VR, optimised for radiology contexts. Equally, the in-built statistics package provided the radiology department with advanced data analytics and, importantly, accurate and consistent output.
“The statistics module of the RIS is very good. The process of generating complex statistics is now fast and simple. We can accommodate all manner of stats requests and know that we can supply meaningful, accurate data to clinical and corporate teams. Radiology+’s statistics package has proved fairly revolutionary at this Trust”.
As each hospital site had varying requirements, what really impressed London North West was the Soliton IT’s custom development – committing to bespoke change management to personalise the application. Obstetric workflows were enhanced, as were the Trust’s system for notification (and acknowledgement) of urgent results.
Radiology+ now has over 750-users across 3-sites within the London North West NHS Trust. Users have found the RIS user-friendly and Service Managers are pleased with their investment. For Adham and his team, the post-implementation service also impressed them – visibility of technical support, including availability of the Soliton IT helpdesk and ticket-tracking via the Support Portal, increased overall satisfaction.
Ever-conscious of the growing demand on the hospital, London North West NHS Trust will continue to enhance their system alongside Soliton IT with investment into future Nuclear Medicine and Mobile modules.
“We were confident that Soliton IT’s Radiology+ system would remain at the cutting edge – which was the biggest factor in our adoption of this RIS.”
Adham Nicola, Systems Manager, London North West Healthcare NHS Trust.
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