The Salisbury, Isle of Wight and South Hampshire hospitals consortium has renewed its picture archiving and communication system (PACS) contract with Sectra for a further eight years.

The Salisbury, Wight and South Hampshire Domain Trusts (SWASH) consortium manages images from some 1.3 million patient exams across the geography each year.

It has now renewed its contract which Sectra, which has been providing SWASH hospitals with its PACS since 2013.

Sectra had previously provided four instances of its PACS alongside a cross-platform technology that enabled trusts to share images with each other.

In the new contract, signed at the beginning of 2020, a single instance of the PACS hosted in the cloud will be delivered across all trusts.

This will remove the technical complexity required to support a single view of patient imaging across the trusts, Sectra said.

The development is expected to allow clinicians to view imaging at other sites at the same speed and efficiency as they would do imaging in their own hospital.

Mark Gardner, PACS manager at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We have broken down a lot of barriers over the last seven years by using Sectra’s software to allow us to view imaging across our trusts. And having a consistent system in place has proven useful for consultants and junior doctors moving across our trusts.

“Now we are taking this a step further by moving to a single instance of PACS across the entire SWASH consortium. This will remove a reliance on external network links, and improve performance further, overcoming any bandwidth limitations when our professionals are obtaining and interacting with large imaging files and the associated vast amounts of data needed to make important diagnoses.”

Delivery of the new PACS is expected to allow the consortium to manage a further 450,000 patient exams a year – or 1.75 million in total.

Imaging will also continue to integrate into the trusts’ individual electronic patient records, supporting clinicians across a range of hospital environments.

Dr Mark Griffiths, paediatric radiologist and clinical lead for the SWASH consortium, said: “I can already see a full patient history from any of the trusts involved – an achievement made possible during the past seven years. But our requirements are considerable to keep that running in an orderly fashion across multiple routers and a range of complex and varied infrastructure.

“The new contract will allow us to simplify our utilisation of the technology, and will mean that maintenance, upgrades, patching and even cyber security will now be much more easily managed. And we have a strong opportunity to improve our access for multi-disciplinary teams which often occur concurrently. This means that any historic challenges where bandwidth between trusts may be clogged at peak times will be overcome.”

Jane Rendall, managing director UK and Ireland at Sectra, added: “SWASH has achieved a tremendous amount working as a region during the past seven years so that patient imaging can securely flow to whichever hospital that patient visits.

“As regional NHS collaborations now rapidly become the default procurement mechanism in the imaging space, they can learn a lot from pioneers at SWASH, who continue to build on their strategic view led by clinical and diagnostic professionals and senior individuals including chief information officers.

“These are people determined to make the lives of clinical and technical professionals in the NHS easier, and to make the flow of imaging even more seamless.”