The Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust has continued to develop its IM&T infrastructure through the implementation of a vendor neutral archive and a “bring your own device” strategy.

Delivered by EMC, the archive will be used for storing medical images from the trust’s picture archiving and communication system and radiology information system.

The pilot solution sits underneath the medical images element of the trust’s EMC Documentum xCP platform, which is also used for managing patient information.

The archive ensures that Royal Liverpool “owns” the images it produces before the CSC PACS/RIS local service provider contract expires in June 2013.

James Norman, director of IM&T at the trust, told eHealth Insider that the decision to implement the vendor neutral archive was a “no brainer”.

“The VNA is customised from the document management system by EMC and as it was available from them it really didn’t make sense to pay for it elsewhere, we were basically killing two birds with one stone.

“We had the option of going down the OJEU route with the consortium so we set a deadline to make the VNA work for us and it did.

"It does what it says, which means we are not tied into one supplier, allowing us to grow and the data that is stored will not be lost,” he explained.

The trust is currently involved in the Cheshire and Merseyside consortium that is procuring PACS/RIS replacements for June 2013, and Norman said that that they had received costings from suppliers and a formal notification is “imminent”.

When new medical images are generated they will go directly into the vendor neutral archive, providing clinicians with access to the images instantly. The trust will also look to incorporate cardiology images as the system develops.

Norman also informed EHI that the trust was in the process of finalising plans for the implementation of a “bring your own device” strategy, which is likely to be launched this autumn when Windows 8 software is available.

Royal Liverpool currently provides Motion tablets to staff on wards and Norman hopes that the strategy will help reduce the IM&T department’s spend on hardware while improving the working environment for clinicians.

“As we move forward it will mean that we are not having to replace devices but this is really about enabling and providing more freedom to staff. Clinicians are definitely looking forward to using a wide range of devices which they don’t get access to at the moment.”

A number of devices will be used but Norman told EHI that trials with iPads have found that they are not “always appropriate” for all clincial settings as it removed “some layers of clinical systems”.

The trust‘s decision to wait for the updated software will coincide with the release of the new Microsoft Surface tablet that was announced this week.

There are two versions of the Microsoft Surface, one powered by an Intel Ivy Bridge chipset for a "full windows experience" and a thinner, lighter but less powerful Windows RT version. The more powerful version of the Surface will run the latest Windows 8 Pro operating system.

The device features an optional slimline tactile keyboard built into the tablet’s case, as opposed to the standard touch keyboard normally associated with tablet devices.