Radiology+ in Southend NHS Trust
With over 100-years of hospital services, Southend University Hospital is a pivotal landmark in the town’s rich history. Founded in 1887 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Jubilee, the hospital began with just 8-beds and a patient capacity of 61 – a far cry from the modern achievements of over 4000-staff serving a local population of 338,000.
The Trust has an excellent reputation for providing a comprehensive range of acute services ranging from general surgical to cancer treatments and children’s surgeries. Additionally, the Trust is the South Essex surgical centre for uro-oncology, gynaecology and impressively, a national centre of excellence for the care of stroke.
With over 91000 recorded annual inpatients, the hospitals clerical and technological systems had to be equipped to handle influxes of admissions, referrals and meet NHS guidelines for fast and effective report generation.
A dated RIS needing user intervention
The Trust’s Radiology Department provides a diagnostic service using x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computerised tomography (CT) and ultrasound. Tom Latham, Radiologist for Neuro & Musculo Skeletal specialities, used Total Care Radiology from US provider McKesson to manage their RIS requirements. Tom comments:
“The previous RIS was established and sound, but couldn’t cater for technological innovations that were being offered by modern RIS. Due to the age and basic function of the solution, the total RIS management had to incorporate 3 software elements; PACS, RIS and voice recognition. Although the 3 applications worked together, this required manual intervention from the user, data cut and pasting and the physical autonomy of switching between 3 interfaces to carry out a routine process”.
With the news that their previous McKesson solution was approaching end-of-life and the developer’s withdrawal of product support, Tom and the Radiology team sought a new solution for Southend University Hospital – with firm requirements. The new application had to be able to incorporate all elements of RIS management into one interface; PACS, Diagnostics Imaging and Voice Recognition. Similarly, the solution had to be future-proof by having the technical capacity and development strength to incorporate future clinical advances and IT innovations.
Radiology+ succeeds with individual profiling
After trials from AGFA and HSS, Tom sought a consultation from Soliton IT, a UK-based RIS developer with specific skills in system integration and hospital amalgamation. The team trialed Soliton’s leading solution – Radiology+ – an intuitive and functional application specific for the management of Radiology departments, which prompted positive feedback from both users and IT administrators.
Users benefited from the “process-based” software, which proved highly configurable to Tom’s and colleague’s individual profiles and interface preferences; allowing each user to adopt a preferred practice rather than a regimented and uniform one-size-fits-all approach. In addition, new features such as Patient Imaging History being available within the interface proved indispensable when quickening the reporting process – supported by the vital incorporation of a voice recognition engine with optimised sound clarity.
Uncompromised integration management
Similarly, system administrators were assured by the Windows-based configuration and the seamless compatibility with the Trust’s PACS, EPR & PAS. Technically, a key element of adopting Radiology+ was the integration to the Trust’s “requesting” system and the complete migration of previous system’s data; the Soliton integration team ensured that effective interfaces were deployed, tested in advance of launch date and data migration was mapped, imported and executed with paramount accuracy.
Southend University Hospital Trust now has over 150 regular Radiology+ users including 20 reporters. The improved autonomy of the system and the streamlined process has improved the clerical process; a factor important to the Trust with advances towards sector Paperless initiatives.