Two North West trusts have acquired a new picture archiving and communication system and vendor neutral archive, with a view to more easily share diagnostic data between their organisations.

University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust and Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have both selected Sectra’s PACS and VNA systems.

Morecambe Bay is already live, with clinicians able to view a full range of imaging and reports directly through the trust’s Lorenzo electronic patient record (EPR).

Clinicians at other trusts can also see the information, with authorised professionals able to log directly into the Morecambe Bay PACS.

When Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust goes live with its own Sectra PACS and VNA later in the year, both trusts will be able to have instant access to each other’s imaging data and worklists.

Lancashire previously ran a PACS solution from CSC (now DXC Technology), which was the region’s lead contractor under the National Programme for IT.

Sameer Shamshuddin, consultant musculoskeletal radiologist at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, characterised the new PACS and VNA at his organisation as “a giant leap forward for workflow”.

“Within the hospital, chat functionality is allowing me to seek instant peer review from my colleagues without spending time searching through corridors. And across the region, our MDTs [multidisciplinary teams] are now better connected.”

He continued: “Now our colleagues in neighbouring trusts can securely log into our PACS by simply clicking a link. The meeting is video-conferenced and everyone is working from the same imaging, allowing us to share scarce expertise seamlessly.”

Morecambe Bay will not only make radiology images available through the new technology – a dozen diagnostic departments are set to start storing their imaging data in the VNA over the next two years.

The trust’s chief information officer Andy Wicks explained the Sectra deployment is also an important component of the organisation’s EPR strategy.

“When our clinicians view PACS images at the bedside, they can do that in context of the wider patient record which now includes electronic results, doctors and nurses notes, assessments, care plans and a wealth of valuable information on which to base crucial clinical decisions”, Wicks said.

Morecambe Bay was the first trust to implement Lorenzo, and decided to stick with the system when its National Programme for IT contract expired. This is despite an acknowledgement that internal opinion on the system is mixed.