A £12.5m picture archiving and communications, radiology information system, and vendor neutral archiving contract in the south east of England will allow clinicians from outside of the area to view images and provide second opinions.
Philips was recently awarded a five-year contract for PACS, RIS and VNA by the Surrey and Sussex collaborative procurement of six NHS trusts.
Sussex and Surrey PACS RIS VNA Collaborative lead programme manager Lesley Walton told eHealth Insider that Philips has already started setting up a central data centre, which will allow images to be shared between the trusts.
The ability to easily share images is becoming increasingly important, especially with Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust becoming a specialist trauma centre, she said.
Consultants at trusts outside the Sussex and Surrey collaborative, for example at King’s College Hospital in London, will also be able to access the VNA if patients are transferred there.
They will view images via a web browser. Alternatively, consultants in the south will be able to send an email to a London consultant with a secure URL link if they are looking for a second opinion.
Walton said the deployment schedule has not yet been finalised, but the first trust to go-live with the new system will be East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which is scheduled for next January.
The two Surrey trusts - Royal Surrey Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust - joined the collaborative late.
They are likely to deploy after the Sussex organisations, but ultimately the schedule will depend on the collaborative’ s priorities and trust readiness.
Walton said the initial priority is to keep the hospitals’ radiology services running smoothly during the transition, while working to identify and plan the realisation of future benefits for the service.
For example, the trusts are looking at setting up a shared radiology on-call service or a shared radiology booking service.
“Looking ahead to 'any qualified provider', the NHS needs to be competitive and the best way is to be collaborative,” Walton explained.
“We are confident the products provided by Philips are state of the art and will deliver all the functionality we can envisage. All the trusts involved are looking forward to working collaboratively in the future.”
The other trusts in the collaborative are East Sussex Healthcare Trust, Western Sussex Hospitals Trusts and Queen Victoria Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
Currently five of the six trusts have a GE PACS and HSS RIS. East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust has an Agfa PACS, bought just before the roll-out of PACS and RIS systems as part of the National Programme for IT in the NHS.
© 2012 EHealth Media.
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