South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust provides hospital services in South Tyneside and community services in Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland. The Trust has one main hospital site – South Tyneside District Hospital and looks after thousands of patients in the community with over a million contacts every year.

As one of the largest departments in the hospital, the Radiology department offers a diagnostic and interventional imaging service. These services are supported by varying IT systems – PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication System) for routing clinical images around the hospital and a PAS (Patient Administration System) to provide patient information accordingly. Although these systems were the backbone of the department for over a decade, the workflow element of the system was in need of a refresh; the Trust did not use a dedicated RIS (Radiology Information System) and instead used a custom-built radiology module within their Silverlink PAS to manage workflow.

The Trust’s initial objective was to implement a PACS upgrade, provided by GE, along with a new fully-fledged RIS deployment to support and manage the clinical image system. Bronia Fleet, Business Manager, comments:

“We knew that we would not get real benefits realisation of the new PACS if we didn’t have an effective RIS in place. Our Radiologists needed to be using platforms that were fit for purpose in this digital age and we needed to be sure of increased efficiency”.

 The Trust reviewed two RIS vendors for compliance with the GE PACS integration and RIS efficiencies. Soliton IT, a UK RIS developer, was recommended by the neighbouring hospital, as a nationally-leading vendor with a host of Radiology IT software solutions. After a demonstration of their RIS, Radiology+, the Trust opted for a site visit to a newly deployed Radiology+ site, Mid Cheshire NHS Trust, to see the system in use.

After several onsite demonstrations, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust chose Radiology+ RIS from Soliton IT.  Claire Weston, PACS Manager, explains:

“We liked everything about Radiology+ and could immediately see that it was simple to use and navigate. At this early stage, we could visualise the screens, how we could use it and even explain it to other people within the team. Mid Cheshire had a similar organisational set-up to us and could demonstrate the transition in terms that we could relate to.” 

South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust went live with their GE PACS upgrade in February 2017 followed by Radiology+ RIS in January 2018, and the Trust quickly saw improvements. The new application provided the Trust with a concise view of radiology tasks, structured by simple and responsive worklist interfaces and driven by its secure automation of processes. Radiographers noted that the format of each screen was straightforward with all clinical information being to hand when needed. Users particularly liked the Messaging function which allowed quick, in-built communication between staff, and clerical burdens were eased when Radiology+ allowed signatures to be embedded into reports – making reporting output quicker and improving workflow around the department.

A former Radiographer herself, Bronia comments on the Go-Live:

“I was amazed when the Trust performed the first ultrasound with the new RIS. From my many years as a Radiographer I was delighted to see that Radiology+ displayed everything that a Radiographer would want to see to support the patient pathway on one screen. It was such a positive experience to see staff engaging so quickly with the new Soliton RIS.”

See the full story on the South Tyneside Hospital NHS Trust deployment in the Press Release here.