X-ray Management Solution Speeds Diagnoses
Client:National Health Service
- Decrease the time between patient imaging, such as x-rays and scans, and available results.
- Develop and deply a diagnostic imaging system.
- A new Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS).
- PACS allows professionals to store and mail images electronically rather than manually, enabling doctors to diagnose patient issues faster.
The introduction of the Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) into local trusts has revolutionised turnaround times for patient screening through clinical reporting, speeding diagnosis by giving clinicians immediate access to images.
Part of the National Programme for IT, which is helping the NHS deliver better, safer care to patients, PACS enables images to be stored electronically and viewed on computers. This means doctors, radiographers and other health professionals can compare them at the touch of a button. The system, developed by CSC and its alliance partners, can be accessed during ward rounds using wireless technology at the patient’s bedside, allowing doctors to consult with radiologists and receive diagnostic opinion within minutes.
Faster clinical decisions
CSC has worked with local hospital trusts in the North West and West Midlands, strategic health authorities and NHS Connecting for Health staff to implement the PACS. One of the first trusts to deploy the system under CSC was The Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust -- a 635-bed, two-site district general hospital based in the town of Chester.
At the trust, PACS has cut waiting times for clinical appointments to almost two weeks in most cases. This in turn has impacted waiting times across the hospital, allowing it to deliver the national target of a maximum 18-week wait from referral to treatment time for patients waiting for elective procedures.
Linda Williams, Countess of Chester Radiology Services manager, said: “Patient care has improved dramatically since we went live with PACS. The images are there instantly and the radiologists’ reports follow straight away. It used to take days under the old system. The consultant radiologists now respond in real-time. This is the biggest change in technology for radiographers since the move from dark room to daylight processing 30 years ago.”
Voice for the future
In the future, PACS will also employ speech recognition technology, enabling radiologists to put their reports straight into the computer instead of dictating a tape for transcribing.
Linda said: “Voice recognition will negate the need for the typists and the reports will become available immediately. This allows our administrative staff to be used more effectively on the PAS administration system or elsewhere in the hospital.”