Yorkshire trust signs new image sharing tech deal

Move could help to drive new efficiencies and boost its collaborative approach.



Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTHT) has adopted new imaging technology which it believes will improve productivity and its ability to collaborate with other trusts.

Agfa HealthCare’s Enterprise Imaging (EI) platform features clinical tools, reporting capabilities and a workflow engine.

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

The platform is expected to help streamline the clinical pathway for reporting radiology images. If successful, this with help to address the trust’s capacity gap, which has been exacerbated by an increased demand on services during the pandemic.

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

The transition involved the migration of more than 9.5 million studies and training over 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 LTHT, 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.

“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 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 per cent by the end of 2024, predicted by the Royal College of Radiologists.

Together, the eight trusts, which cover a patient population of more than 3 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 LTHT, 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.

“It is hoped that this will eventually increase reporting capacity and reduce turn-around 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 UK and Ireland, Agfa HealthCare, added: “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 them achieve their 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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