Hello, my name is Kate Clough, and I am the Service Delivery Manager for the Yorkshire Imaging Collaborative (YIC); one of the many programmes of work within the West Yorkshire Association of Acute Trusts (WYAAT) portfolio.
The YIC is a transformation programme supported by technical change. It aims to transform the way radiology services are delivered across our six member trusts, by integrating medical imaging to provide quality radiology services to patients, regardless of which hospital they attend for their examinations.
The Royal College of Radiologists’ (RCR) guidelines state that all NHS radiology departments must review learning events within their trusts. YIC members also agreed to share learning from reported incidents and near misses as part of their individual trust risk management strategies. This process is incredibly important for radiology teams as it helps to safeguard against things going wrong in the future and helps drive improvement in the service itself, staff experience as well as patient care.
Recognising there is strength in collaboration, the YIC decided to perform these reviews collectively, forming a region-wide radiology events and learning meeting, also known as REaLM. Reviewing learning events as a wider imaging network ensures that improvement happens at scale and allows for consistency across our six trusts. As a relatively new meeting, changes are still work in progress, but we have been looking at evidence from one trust which routinely uses a lateral projection for chest x-rays in a defined group of patients. We currently think this may improve patient outcomes across the patch if all trusts were to adopt this.
Our network approach to learning also allows staff to build relationships with colleagues across the YIC, which in turn promotes collaboration between the trusts. Radiologists from different organisations are already collaborating to agree shared imaging protocols based on best practice, as well as offering support for second reporting in sub-specialties where there is limited capacity. These colleagues likely wouldn’t have met if it were not for the YIC and WYAAT’s focus on peer collaboration.
Attendance at our events has been fantastic, with more than 40 people attending each meeting so far from across our respective trusts. There has been positive feedback from all; however, we have seen this in particular from radiographers who may not be traditionally invited to a departmental REaLM, unless they have a reporting role. We decided to open the invitation to more than just radiologists and reporting radiographers, to allow acquisition radiographers to benefit from the knowledge that REaLM shares. It is not only important to review reporting but also for the acquisition radiographer to understand why images need to be produced in a certain way. REaLM provides a safe space for people to ask questions and be involved in best practice, which in turn will inform their future work and improve the patient experience.
In the future, YIC’s new shared image reporting software will allow our six trusts to collectively review reports from across the region in one instance, making the REaLM events even more impactful.
We’ve been issuing certificates of attendance after each event, to help to demonstrate learning and support colleagues with their professional registration. Everyone loves a certificate!
I’d encourage other radiology departments to expand their REaLM meetings to a wider pool of staff, both internal and external to their trust, as this creates opportunities for greater consistency across a wider geographical area, as well as networking opportunities and chances to share new ideas and best practice amongst teams. In our experience, the meetings greatly benefited from having both reporting and acquisition staff present, as each was able to learn from the other’s perspective and offer fresh ideas based on their own experiences of the department and discipline. You’ll also want to make sure to set regular dates in the diary way in advance, to guarantee colleagues can attend.
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