Kingston Hospital reduces radiology turnaround times and clerical loads with adoption of Radiology+ from Soliton IT
Serving over a quarter-of-a-million people in South West London, Kingston Hospital NHS Trust employs nearly three-thousand staff on site and runs a busy district hospital as well as a number of outpatient clinics in the surrounding communities. The Trust provides a full range of diagnostic and treatment services to their 400-bed site and has a reputation as the best cancer hospital in London as well as a highly regarded maternity and orthopaedic service.
Continuing the Trust-wide focus on patient care, Kingston’s Radiology department is a consultant-led multi-disciplinary team working within CT, MRI, Ultrasound, X-ray, Nuclear Medicine, DEXA, Breast Imaging and Fluoroscopy. The team consists of 131-staff – including 21-consultants and 50-radiographers who carry out around 275,000 annual examinations within their multi-disciplinary and extended roles.
Previous systems required improvements
For managing electronic radiology processes, Kingston Hospital had a RadCentre Radiology scheduling system deployed by Amersham Medical Systems in 1993. The digital infrastructure of RadCentre was a welcome progression from the previous analogue methods used within Radiology; it supported the migration from paper-based imaging operations, replacing the Cardex system, by offering a digital workflow. Although functionally apt, this system had been in use for 25-years, and Kingston knew that other software applications were on the market which clerically and clinically enhanced Radiology workflows further.
Vin Majuran, Consultant Radiologist for Kingston Hospitals, comments:
“The former process was very people heavy and tiered; get a paper request form, book it in manually, retrieve the form, enter it into another system, get it signed, return it etc. As this hardcopy request form encompassed a huge amount of information, by mislaying this form, you’ve essentially lost 8 different inputs of data.”
Kingston Hospital’s Radiology department had identified that clerical teams had a disproportionate number of administrative jobs; a team of 12 were laden with analogue paper pushing tasks which was taking them away from vital patient-facing tasks. In addition, the lack of audit trail or ownership of each request was a risk – the paper form was only ever in once place at any one time, could be viewed by only a single person and took 20-30 days to reach the scan stage – passing through 8 different contributors in the process. Although the department successfully booked examinations within their six-week processing deadline, they lacked fluidity in promptly notifying patients of appointments – an administration task that their RIS could not accommodate easily, which brought more clerical burden when patients received their proposed date and times late and they inevitably required re-booking.
Kingston opts for Soliton IT
Siemens and Kingston Hospital identified several vendors who were prolific in the market for RIS supply and, after seeing that many RIS were still amid development, highlighted UK-based RIS developer Soliton IT and their leading RIS, Radiology+.
Soliton IT, based in Hemel Hempstead, has a software suite of radiology workflow, reporting, sharing and VR applications, which have been designed by clinical professionals and ex-radiographers, built by the industry’s most renowned software developers and equipped especially for the radiology discipline. Their leading application, Radiology+, offers automation of radiology tasks with its intuitive workflow dynamic which includes many modular specialist features. Routine radiology tasks such as scheduling patient appointments, protocolling, vetting, data-entry, inter-departmental messaging and reporting are displayed in a concise worklist interface for easy identification and handling. In addition, Radiology+ offers a full statistics module- a customisable graphical analysis on area performances and highlights, in quantitative terms, where areas for improvement lay. Soliton IT’s technical department could also draw from decades of radiology IT experience as the previous developers of RadCentre; many of Amersham Medical System’s former staff are now part of the Soliton IT team. In addition, Soliton IT had a proven track record with both Sectra integration from their RIS deployment at North Middlesex Hospital and Siemens partnership from their installation at a north London scanning centre.
The RIS project team, Jim, Vin and Siemens had a clear preference for the Soliton IT system, which was fully-developed and intuitive with its clear interfaces, solid structure and multi-faceted nature that worked both in a Trust environment and at remote locations. Vin comments:
“In terms of enabling Trust and remote working, many RIS vendors could demonstrate a RIS that could do one of these effectively but not the other. We wanted to mirror a system for someone who worked at home, with access to reports, images and requests, the same as if they were working in the hospital. Soliton IT were the first ones to demonstrate that their RIS could work both inside the hospital and out.”
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“Soliton IT was a pleasure to work with and the relationship between them and Siemens was notably advantageous. Both vendors managed each other well and the MES agreement is a smooth process for the Trust. Functionally, the measurable improvements of turnaround times and user satisfaction is down to the efficiency of Radiology+ and how Soliton IT and Kingston have configured it.”
“Kingston Hospital went from a dated RIS to completely electronic workflow management system – nobody else outside of our team would have known of the migration. This lack of down-time is exactly what we wanted to achieve.”
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