Bristol clinicians to gain easier access to radiology images


Bristol NHS trust deploys Connect and Share registry to give clinicians easy access to patient data via the Image Exchange Portal

Clinicians across Bristol are set to share radiology images far more effectively and improve patient care following the implementation of the Connect and Share registry.

As an extension to the Image Exchange Portal (IEP) used across every NHS trust, Connect and Share has successfully completed extensive testing at University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust. It is now entering the final stages of a pilot programme before benefiting thousands of clinicians and their patients, with at least two other trusts in the region due to come on board.

Medical professionals in participating trusts will now be able to view radiology images such as X-rays and MRI scans at the point of care without having to request them from the centre where they were made. They will also be able to view a patient’s radiology timeline, including all the images taken for a given patient from participating trusts.

Connect and Share is a web-based patient registry built on the XDS data-sharing standard. As an extension to the IEP it means images can be stored locally by one hospital and still be accessed from other healthcare institutions by approved users, meaning the workflow efficiency of IEP is further improved.

It can integrate with any picture archiving communication system (PACS) or radiology information system (RIS) in the NHS and makes it possible to share radiology referrals, reports and images, without requesting that information from remote centres.

Paolo Zanoni, PACS manager at University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust said: “Connect and Share will free clinicians from having to chase to find information they require. It is simple to use and tells the clinician’s browser where to find images and information, even if it is held by another participating trust. Clinicians can then access that information directly.”

The web-based technology could also eventually allow specialist clinicians, located hundreds of miles away, to remotely access images and provide advice to colleagues. It could even allow information sharing with primary care and directly with patients.

Steve Jessop, product marketing manager at Sectra, said: “There is a lot of interest nationally in this solution. Clinicians can see the potential for improving clinical care from sharing radiology images and bringing them closer to the point of care. Connect and Share provides a means of doing that in a cost-effective way by linking existing radiology systems through an easy to use and powerful solution.

“The NHS knows and trusts the technology behind Connect and Share and we think it has the potential to provide a national solution that gives bedside clinicians and GPs access to their patients images at the point of care.

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“Working with the NHS in Bristol to develop a regional solution is providing us with an opportunity to develop a system that is safe and, above all, clinically useful.”