Cloud and VNA services advance regional working and AI for SWASH consortium

A consortium of NHS trusts around the south coast of England has signed its second deal this year with imaging technology provider Sectra in order to improve sharing and access to diagnostic imaging. A shared multimedia archive will also allow the trusts to accelerate ambitions for initiatives including AI.

Known as SWASH, the consortium includes Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust, Isle of Wight NHS Trust, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust and University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust. Under the new arrangement, the trusts will move from an existing VNA to Sectra’s VNA to store imaging for the region.

Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust PACS manager Mark Gardner said: “Moving to Sectra’s VNA will be a big win. We will be able to administer, store and make available millions of images, of different types and from different disciplines, from hospitals across our region, all in a single place without the burden of having to manage infrastructure.”

Sectra will use its cloud to securely store the region-wide archive and to host its PACS, a tool already used by radiology professionals in the consortium to interrogate diagnostic images. Earlier in 2020 SWASH signed an eight-year contract with Sectra that will see a single instance of its PACS delivered across all of the trusts, removing technical complexity previously required to support a single view of patient imaging across the region.

Paediatric radiologist and clinical lead for the SWASH consortium Dr Mark Griffiths said: “Linking with other regions is an important next step. Our strategy is to improve our visualisation of the whole patient pathway within SWASH and beyond. Using a standard for cross-community sharing will help us to better connect with other regional consortia. That will be a game changer – to not just see local imaging, but to understand imaging has occurred for patients who move across borders and services, and to be able to access that imaging myself as a clinician without needing to ask someone else who might not be in the office at the time.”

Dr Griffiths continued: “This creates a wealth of data for purposes such as AI. Data for training algorithms needs to be appropriate and validated. We won’t simply be throwing data at AI, but by having a modern collective data source as a consortium we can use our size to help with the validation and governance around using AI. And we anticipate that Sectra will provide multiple inputs from smaller AI suppliers, that will make it much easier for NHS trusts within a consortium to utilise them.”

Picture: SWASH has signed up for Sectra cloud services.

Published on page 22 of the September 2020 issue of RAD Magazine.

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