The UK Congress of Radiology – better known as UKRC – takes place in Liverpool from 10-12 June. The imaging informatics programme has been put together by vice presidents Neelam Dugar and Anant Patel, and those with an interest in this area will find there is plenty to get their teeth into.

Day 1

Radiation dose monitoring: Monday’s session looks at the benefits of setting up a national registry to carry out radiation dose monitoring for the UK population.

Dr Dugar, who is moderating, explains: “If you have a national registry to identify the doses given for each organisation and you drill down to each machine, you can identify if there is a particular machine in a particular hospital that is producing excessive dosage. The machine is out-of-date and needs to be replaced.”

There are four speakers. Ian Chell from the DH will talk about what can be achieved by adopting a national programme for monitoring radiation dosage.

Neil Monaghan, co-chair of IHE UK, will look at how CT scanners or other radiation-producing equipment can output data in a standardised format to the central registry for analysis, so that an REM (radiation exposure monitoring) profile can be produced.

Gregory Couch from Radimetrics will look at how information about radiation dose can be transmitted automatically from PACS to a national registry, while Ronan Kirby of Siemens will describe how the dose information can be transmitted automatically by modalities to PACS, avoiding the risks attached to entering dose information manually.

Day 2

Safety: An early morning session addresses the question: “Is your new information system clinically safe?” Two speakers, Stuart Harrison and Maureen Baker, both from the Department of Health, look at the issue from the clinical and technical perspectives respectively.

Both, however, are interested in standards designed to help safely implement healthcare IT systems.

Patel, who will be moderating, says: “There’s an assumption that all these systems will be clinically safe but post-2004, with the national programme, that wasn’t explicitly written into the contract. Standards are a way of ensuring that.”

End of NPfIT: Between 2013 and 2015, PACS and RIS systems procured under the National Programme for IT in the NHS will come up for renewal.

Another morning session looks at what trusts need to consider as they make their procurement choices. “It’s to give people an idea of how to go through procurement and what options they have,” says Dr Dugar.

The two main procurement routes are to tender through OJEU or to use a framework developed by NHS Supply Chain.

Tony Corkett from Cloud21 will talk about procurement options for PACS and RIS, and will be followed by NHS Supply Chain’s David Burns, who will outline the key points of the framework.

Solicitor Andrew Daly will explain the legal differences between the OJEU and procurement framework processes, while Kevin Starling of GE Healthcare will look at the procurement issue from the perspective of a PACS and RIS supplier.

“A lengthy procurement has a huge potential impact on the suppliers, because they have got to have a procurement team going in and out of the trust running it, which costs money,” Dr Dugar points out. Finally, Alasdair Thompson from the DH will look at local IT decision-making.

Innovation: A roundtable session titled ‘Can radiology be innovative?’ looks at how to implement innovation in radiology. David Davis, the national clinical lead for Allied Health Professionals, will introduce the topic and look at what is being done nationally.

Two speakers will present case studies. Shawn Larson, PACS project manager at NHS Connecting for Health, will talk about his experience of creating a virtual cath lab, with the help of NHS Innovations, while Nicholas Taylor, senior radiographer at the Great Western Hospital, will talk about designing an online training and audit programme.

Victoria Browne, a former lead of NHS Improvement, will talk about how people can apply their innovation in the real world. There will be a question and answer session at which people can talk about their own experiences and ask for advice.

Even more on the refresh: The PACS refresh gives trusts an opportunity to take a new look at what PACS can provide for them. A session entitled “PACS is reborn!” will examine the benefits offered by wider integration with other systems.

Shannon Webb of Acuo Technologies will discuss the technologies (DICOM, CDA and XDS) that enable integration within a vendor neutral archive, while Stefan Bei der Kellen of GE Healthcare will address enterprise medical document and image management.

Dirco van Norden of imaging solutions provider Rogan Delft will discuss clinical portals based on the XDS/XDS-I standard, and Harm-jan Wessels of Forecare will examine the issue of managing enterprise access controls to VNA data.

This is a challenging issue for many trusts. “When you put everything into a VNA, you need to decide who needs access to all the information,” says Dr Dugar. “You shouldn’t restrict access to information – what you don’t want is doctors working in silos where they don’t have access.”

But while doctors usually need access to all available information to make a judgement about patient management, this won’t be the case for technical staff. “It’s about getting the balance right,” she says.

In the same session, Dave Harvey of Medical Connections explains why standardisation of metadata throughout the NHS is essential if departments are to share data.

Day 3

Training: A morning session on health informatics education looks at the varied approaches to training people in health informatics. Rodnick Vassallo, PACS manager at Queen Mary’s Hospital, will discuss the results of a survey carried out on postgraduate health informatics education.

Di Bullman, informatics development manager at the DH, will look at the usefulness of online learning and training tools, as provided by the eICE (embedding informatics in clinical education) programme.

And Alexander Peck, information systems manager at the Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospital, will talk about the usefulness of providing short courses for PACS managers within trusts.

Quality reports and patient care: The final session, moderated by Laurence Sutton, a consultant radiologist at Calderdale and Huddersfield, looks at the importance of radiology report quality and communication in providing a high standard of patient care.

Informatics can play a significant role in improving radiology report quality, and Dr Dugar will consider both the IT and clinical perspectives.

Jan Bosmans, a radiologist from Belgium, will talk about what referring doctors expect from a radiology report, while Nicola Strickland, a radiologist at Imperial College Healthcare, will look at the training required for image interpretation.

Susan King, consultant radiologist at Weston General Hospital, considers how to improve report quality. Richard Fitzgerald, consultant radiologist at the Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals, will discuss the issue of radiologists’ reporting speed and patient safety.

In future, we can expect radiology reports to be shared more widely, and Phillip Scott, Chair HL7 UK and senior lecturer at the University of Portsmouth, will discuss the electronic transfer of radiology reports to GP systems and other hospitals.