Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust has signed a five-year contract with Sectra to implement a new breast imaging PACS, replacing its existing film-based system.

Sectra was chosen in part because it was able to meet the trust’s tight schedule of producing its first digital image by the end of March this year, said Stephen Griffiths, general manager, radiology.

He added that the workflows in the Sectra system were “intuitive” and easy-to-use.

The breast screening service sees 72,000 women a year, and the new system will “improve throughput and reporting times,” Griffiths said.

The new PACS is being provided as a managed service, he added: “It means if we get an issue we can go back to the supplier and know we have a one-stop shop.”

Barking, Havering and Redbridge is already using Sectra for its PACS, which was procured under the National PACS Programme run by NPfIT.

“It is important that a new PACS could work with our current PACS provider as breast screening clients may become symptomatic patients and the images should be available to both systems,” said Griffiths.

Images from other modalities, such as ultrasound or MRI, can be displayed alongside the mammograms. The new system will also allow the trust to share images with other Sectra PACS sites in the region.

The trust has decided not to migrate existing film images to the new system, because the imported images would not be of diagnostic quality.

The breast screening PACS was procured through the framework that NHS Supply Chain has put in place to support the PACS/RIS refresh underway in England as the national contracts come to an end.

The process was straightforward and took about three months, said Griffiths.