Burnbank Systems is to extend its Image Exchange Portal to host a national patient registry based on the XDS standard.
The registry will enable trusts to exchange different types of patient data, not just images.
“This will allow the sharing of patient data across the country for radiology images, but also other ‘ologies’, such as pathology,” said Peter Young, Burnbank’s managing director.
“That includes the images, the request card and the clinical report, and also other clinical information.”
The registry will be piloted next month, with a full version rolled out later this year. Young said it will improve clinicians’ ability to view both current and historic information about a patient.
“If you’re looking at changes in any particular condition, you need the priors to be able to compare those,” he said.
It will also enable data to be shared more easily between general hospitals and specialist treatment centres. Currently data is usually shared on a physical format, such as a CD.
The registry will incorporate a PIX manager, which will make sure that patient identifiers are matched on the sending and receiving sides, so that the patient data goes into the correct folder.
Neelam Dugar, consultant radiologist at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Trust, welcomed the news.
“I’m really happy that Burnbank has taken this up. Because they are acting as a DICOM hub for sharing images, they are in a position to share documents using a push methodology,” she said.
Dr Dugar said that more and more trusts were buying XDS repositories as part of their PACS procurement, which would enable them to use the Burnbank registry.
“It’s absolutely fantastic, because they [Burnbank] are future-proofing; they have a methodology which is standards-based to share images, and it’s vendor-neutral as well.”
She hoped that in time the system could be extended to GPs, to replace the current paper-based system for sending referral letters and radiology reports.
Burnbank, owned by Sectra, has also announced that every acute trust in England is now connected to the IEP.
The portal, which went live in January 2010, enables NHS trusts to exchange medical images and reports with each other.
By last year, it was being used by the majority of trusts in England, with the final sites signing up this year.
“There’s now a complete network that allows the transfer of diagnostic imaging from anywhere in the NHS within England,” said Young, adding that most sites in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are also connected.
At its inception, Burnbank anticipated that the IEP would be used to transfer 550 studies a day. That number has grown to 9,000 – more than one terabyte of data every day. “It’s a significant volume of data,” said Young.