Electronic transfer of radiology reports to other hospitals and general practitioners

Author(s): Dr Philip Scott

Hospital: University of Portsmouth

Reference: RAD Magazine, 40, 467, 23-24


Compared to most clinical specialities, radiology has extensive, mature and sophisticated information technology support. Given this, it is perhaps surprising that transmission of radiology reports is not yet a routine electronic process. In fact, the only information flow in the UK from hospitals to general practitioners that is universally and exclusively electronic is for laboratory results (specifically haematology, biochemistry and microbiology). This has been operational since 1999-2000 and is based on EDIFACT messaging. Numerous NHS trusts have implemented local or regional electronic solutions for discharge summaries and outpatient letters, in some cases using the NHS Interoperability Toolkit (ITK) message specifications. However, there does not yet exist a nationally available generic document sharing capability between NHS primary and secondary care. This article is based on a presentation given at UKRC 2013 and specifically addresses transfer of radiology reports to general practitioners, with some consideration of inter-hospital report communication.

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