Voice-to-text proves dysfunctional.
A pioneering service needed a supporting IT framework to record and deliver records in a timely manner and with maximum efficiency. This requirement was consistent through the Trust and the X-Ray team was not an exception. Radiology practices were supported through a standard RIS (Radiology Information System) acquired through the National Program for IT. This RIS application had standard functionality as a radiology support program but had administrative limitations – the application was fixed in its infrastructure with little scope for Trust personalisation and had not been updated for 9-years. More predominately, there were significant issues with voice-to-text processing within the VR (voice recognition) which was built and intended for a PC (single user) platform and was not equipped for department-wide connectivity. Neil Kinsman, Radiology Systems Manager, relays the difficulties of the legacy system: “The previous application lost profiles frequently. This meant that we were constantly re-installing profiles onto PCs – all of which had to be done on an individual basis. This was a time-consuming exercise which resulted in lost time for Radiologists and the department as a whole”.
The end of the National Program brings new opportunities.
The non-progression of the voice recognition’s performance and the lack of RIS updates gave Poole Hospital little confidence with their solution, and the end of the National Program contract provided an opportunity to put the RIS out for tender to other solution developers. Dr George McInnes, Consultant Radiologist, had been using the legacy system for many years and also reported difficulties with the voice recognition -such as the frequent need to make corrections to the processed text which slowed the user. When the National Program ended, Dr McInnes was given the choice of renewing their existing supplier and ill-performing voice recognition system or adopting a more constructive approach with the Trust’s new requirements.
Firm requirements -concise reporting for Radiologists.
A new RIS application needed to encompass a series of new features and be reliable and configurable to the Trust. Optimised voice recognition was a necessity to carry out effective radiology reporting within the RIS system as well as the basic functions of user friendliness, ease of adoption and flexibility in administrator control and management. Dr McInnes comments: “Radiologists have concise requirements for a RIS application. They need to be able to create new reports, view prior reports with ease, link patient profiles with images and rely on a voice-to-text process to record data. We needed a RIS in which we were confident that the processes were reliable and the application adaptable to our Trust.”
Fully operational VR with a clinical dictionary.
Poole Hospital NHS Trust reviewed a series of solutions from other RIS providers and were impressed by the solution presented by UK-based RIS developer, Soliton IT. Soliton’s Radiology+ is an intuitive and functional application formulated specifically for the management of Radiology departments and was instantly identified by the procurement team as a clear and concise platform for RIS tasks. Having already seen a demonstration of Radiology+ at e-Health Live the previous year, the team was impressed with the system’s interface which was designed in a user-friendly and multi-tasking format. Mike Cox, Advanced Practice Reporting Radiographer explains: “The colour-coded interface of Radiology+ was a simple but effective feature. Being able to differentiate between tasks at a glance is crucial to a busy Radiographer when both accuracy and time are critical factors.”
Poole proceeds with Radiology+.
Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust appointed Soliton IT as supplier of the site’s RIS on the basis of its flexible, customisable features and modular structure. Equally, the new system-integrated voice recognition element was an ‘enterprise’ server-based solution and equipped for larger multi-user networks – thus providing a far superior voice processing experience. From a functionality perspective, the new VR configuration and context was seamless within the Radiology+ application and provided Poole with a clinical dictionary that was specifically built for UK Radiologists – a far cry from the generic medical terminology that was previously offered. Dr McInnes was particularly pleased with the Messaging function; this consisted of a messaging service to improve inter-departmental communications and in-program customisable worklists to improve time management and departmental efficiency.
Seamless PACS integration.
From a systems administrator outlook, the ability to configure the system internally and customize program worklists was indispensable and opened doors to how interactive the department could be in controlling their own system and department’s performance. Additionally, system integration with the Trust’s existing Carestream PACS system was efficient with more historical data being available than ever before due to refreshed compatibility with the Bournemouth-based server. Poole NHS Foundation Trust now has a team of Radiographers, Sonographers, Radiologists, Administrators and MDT Co-ordinators committed to the Radiology+ solution with 490 users using the application effectively across the Trust.