Patients at Kettering General Hospital are set to benefit from improved X-ray and other medical image provision thanks to a new £30 million scheme being used by hospitals in the area.
The new system will roll out over the next 12 months across seven hospitals in the East Midlands, who will share the cost of setting up the new system.
For Kettering General Hospital this is a cost of a little over £3 million spread over the 10 years of the contract.
It means doctors will have immediate access to images for patients in their care and be able to call in specialist opinion from colleagues at any of the hospitals involved.
Currently some images can take days to get transferred, for example via CD-ROMs being physically moved from hospital to hospital.
Radiology IT manager at the Rothwell Road hospital, Andrew Gill, said: “The key improvement will be the amount of time we save by having a very fast and secure way of viewing patient x-ray information within teams and between hospitals.
“For example in cases like cancer several different clinicians may meet to discuss a case, including clinicians based at other hospitals.
“The new system will enable all of the people in that meeting – regardless of where they are based – to all look at the same images on a common system at the same time.
“This will enable quicker decision processes and allow our doctors more time to establish the care plans for patients especially in the more complex cases such as cancer.”
The seven NHS trusts in the East Midlands Radiology consortium (EMRAD) are Kettering General Hospital, Northampton General Hospital as well as others in Nottingham, Chesterfield, Leicester, Mansfield and across Lincolnshire.
The trusts will shortly sign a deal with GE Healthcare to supply a cloud-based system which allows doctors to view and discuss images ‘live’, without needing significant new software installed on their networks.
Dr Tim Taylor, consultant radiologist at Nottingham University Hospitals, who led the EMRAD clinical team through the procurement, said: “Radiology systems have developed hugely in the years since they were first installed nationwide and the better they are, the better we can diagnose and treat patients.
“Medics have led the consortium, so we know we have been able to focus on factors that make a real difference to patients, and because we’ve negotiated as a group, each hospital has a better deal for the NHS than it would have agreed alone.”
Matthew Stork, General Manager for GE Healthcare IT in the UK & Ireland said: “GE Healthcare is delighted to have been selected to work with the EMRAD consortium and to help Kettering General Hospital to adopt new technologies to improve patient
care and to make services more efficient.”