Leeds hospitals go live with Agfa HealthCare’s Enterprise Imaging solution

Unified platform helps streamline clinical pathway for reporting radiology images

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTHT) has implemented Agfa HealthCare’s Enterprise Imaging (EI) solution, a unified platform complete with clinical tools, reporting, and a workflow engine that will help maximise productivity and collaboration with neighbouring trusts.

EI provides a single storage solution for the trust’s radiological images, facilitating mobile working so clinicians can access studies and reports from anywhere in the hospital or on their home workstations, in real time.

The Agfa HealthCare EI solution is expected to help streamline the clinical pathway for reporting radiology images, enabling consultants to address the trust’s capacity gap, which has been exacerbated by the increased demand on services following the COVID-19 pandemic.

EI replaces Agfa HealthCare’s IMPAX solution, which had been in place at the trust since 2003.

The transition involved the migration of more than 9.5 million studies and training of more than 200 members of staff, using a combination of Agfa-led remote training, e-learning courses, and guidance documentation, hosted on Health Education England’s Digital Learning Solutions platform.

Paul Jones, chief digital information officer at the trust, said: “Leeds is one of the largest trusts in the UK, providing care to over 1.5 million patients every year, many of whom have complex and urgent needs.

Staff are already starting to realise the benefits, with the potential for fast access to images and reports from regional hospital trusts and greater flexibility in how radiology reporting is delivered

“Upgrading a major system like EI had to be very carefully planned to minimise any downtime since we’re dealing with several thousand examinations per day.

“EI has provided a much-more-stable infrastructure. We immediately noticed the productivity and efficiency savings made by having fully-integrated image viewing and reporting on a single platform with a modern interface.”

The EI go-live also represents significant progress for the Yorkshire Imaging Collaborative (YIC), as it edges closer to creating a radiology image sharing network between eight sites across Yorkshire and the Humber.

The launch of the YIC in 2016 was a direct response to the falling numbers of radiologists and subsequent concerns about pressure on services, given the expected national shortfall of 43% by the end of 2024, predicted by the Royal College of Radiologists.

Together, the eight trusts, which cover a patient population of more than three million, will also benefit from Agfa HealthCare’s XERO Exchange Network (XEN) — a tool built to allow images and reports to be shared across the region at any time.

The Network promotes regional and local collaboration between clinicians, patients, and other healthcare providers.

Fahmid Chowdhury, clinical director of radiology at the trust, said: “Agfa’s EI solution will play an important part in our strategy to make radiology image sharing across the region a reality.

“A large part of the success of EI implementation has been clinical engagement and our partnership with Agfa, who helped train our colleagues and worked with us to tailor the system to meet the specific needs of the trust.

“Staff are already starting to realise the benefits of having a more-stable unified platform for image viewing and reporting, with the potential for fast access to images and reports from regional hospital trusts and greater flexibility in how radiology reporting is delivered.

Upgrading a major system like EI had to be very carefully planned to minimise any downtime since we’re dealing with several thousand examinations per day

“It is hoped this will eventually increase reporting capacity and reduce turnaround times while also minimising the number of examinations a patient needs, as well as the number of visits to the hospital.

“We’re really excited to work collaboratively with colleagues at Agfa and within the YIC to build further on these initial positive results.”

Roberto Anello, managing director for the UK and Ireland at Agfa HealthCare, adds: “Implementing the technology during the COVID-19 pandemic has had its challenges, but thankfully, through the commitment and effort of everyone involved, the project has been an overwhelming success.

“Leeds Hospitals is a prestigious teaching trust with an extensive range of radiology requirements, so we’re very proud to have helped it to achieve its digital ambitions for image sharing.

It’s also fantastic to be one step closer to finalising the go-live plans across the YIC.”

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