In our latest blog, technology programme manager, Aidan Lee, talks about how the Yorkshire Imaging Collaborative is connecting radiology services across WYAAT and beyond.
Yorkshire Imaging Collaborative (YIC) is a well-established combined technology and transformation programme designed to create a well-integrated regional radiology service offering consistent diagnostic and treatment services to patients across 29 participating hospitals in Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire.
At the heart of its philosophy, patients' medical imaging (pictures) and associated specialised reports should always be available when a patient attends an appointment, irrespective of where the imaging took place. In an increasingly cloud connected world, patients and doctors rightfully expect this level of connectivity and portability.
Whilst most hospitals have had electronic patient records for many years now, they continue to act as digital information silos. Few are truly interconnected and when they are, the manual labour involved in record transfer remains considerable often creating a friction to request images in the first place.
There has also traditionally been considerable variation in medical imaging practice between sites, even though services such as cancer and trauma care are well joined up through centralised multidisciplinary services.
In 2018 YIC created a vision for the perfect regional radiology service, much of which has now made its way into national and collegiate guidelines through our continued involvement with these organisations.
Throughout our process of business transformation we have remained mindful about how we introduce new technology to our NHS Trusts, always ensuring that first and foremost it improves workflows and solves real imaging problems.
The process has always been kept on track by the advisory role of our clinical Special Interest Groups (SIGs) comprising regional experts in each area of medical imaging. Service managers also share experience in their own important group and have been able to collaboratively balance workload between hospitals, share wisdom and even staff in times of added need.
During the COVID-19 pandemic our team was seconded to create a first-class medical imaging service for NHS Nightingale Hospital Yorkshire and the Humber. We launched our regional imaging interoperability network in April 2020 to allow any patients that may need to transfer to the new hospital to arrive with a complete medical record enabling safer continued care. Although the hosptial was never needed to serve inpatients, we have delivered over 4500 outpatient CT scans in our state of the art diagnostic imaging centre on the Nightingale site in Harrogate.
Phase 1 of the programme focused on the delivery at each trust of a standardised Enterprise Imaging (EI) platform. With the support of AGFA, this work concluded successfully at the end of 2021.
We’re now embarking on Phase 2 of the programme with the help of industry leading experts, Intelerad, to create an image sharing and reporting solution utilising a regional worklist through Clario (Intelerad product).
This is the first WYAAT programme to integrate a number of trusts PACS and RIS IT platforms into a single sharing solution. My role is to coordinate the delivery activities across the 6 Trust IT teams, PACS teams, and the 3rd parties that support the delivery of this change. Working collaboratively, the target is to bring each trust online in a phased approach concluding over the next 12 months, providing patients with a single timeline irrespective of which hospital they attend
In addition to delivering this new sharing and reporting capability we’re investing heavily to support radiologists and reporting radiographers to utilise this technology from home. Home working stations are being provisioned to as part of the programme and will be delivered to reporters as we progress through the programme.
I started in the role at the beginning of January. Starting a new role in the middle of a pandemic is not easy, especially not being able to meet people face to face. I have however been hugely impressed by the support given to me by each of the trusts. I believe we have a great set of people excited to support this initiative and make this rollout a success.