Trio of Canon ultrasound systems at Exeter CDC helps reduce waiting list to less than two weeks

NHS Nightingale Hospital Exeter has been turned into a community diagnostic centre (CDC), to help tackle the backlog across Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. Utilising a share of £11.3 million funding awarded by the National Accelerator Systems Programme in May 2021, the clinically-led redesign turned the hospital into a CDC offering orthopaedic, ophthalmology, diagnostic and rheumatology services.

The transformation of the hospital included investment in the latest medical imaging and diagnostics technology. The ultrasound department went from one ultrasound room equipped with a scanner to four outpatient scanning suites, three for general ultrasound and one combined for MSK ultrasound. Each is installed with ultrasound imaging equipment from Canon Medical Systems UK.

The Aplio i800 Prism Edition systems provide a high level of detail for precision scanning in general, and particularly for gynaecological and MSK examinations. The equipment is installed with advanced applications including contrast-enhanced ultrasound, shear wave elastography and superb micro- vascular imaging, which offers a level of vascular visualisation that can aid diagnostic confidence when evaluating lesions, cysts and tumours.

Jane Baker.
Jane Baker with the Aplio i-series platforms.

Principal sonographer Jane Baker commented: “Our long-standing relationship with Canon has enabled the hospital to implement a framework for continuous improvement, through which the ultrasound team can effectively identify where efficiencies can be made for better patient care and staff working practices. We have already seen improved productivity, with faster examinations and more accurate diagnoses due to superb image quality.

“Patient feedback has also been positive, with the speed of referral from the GP to an appointment being recognised by patients as quick and efficient.”

Charlotte Pritchard and Clare Overton
Charlotte Pritchard and Clare Overton.

Since the latest installation, the capacity of the ultrasound department at the NHS Nightingale Hospital has grown and it was able to serve three times as many patients in 2023 compared to 2022, reducing the local NHS patient waiting list to less than two weeks.

Baker added: “With improved image quality, diagnostic confidence has increased greatly across the sonography team, leading to more efficient diagnoses and improved patient throughput. The technological and ergonomic design features have proved essential in providing a service that offers optimum diagnostic quality and supports the ultrasound team in a busy outpatient setting.”

Published on page 28 of the January 2024 issue of RAD Magazine.

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