East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust has gone live with Sectra’s picture archiving and communication system (PACS), giving staff better access to imaging from several trusts across the region.

The system provides instant access to images from several hospitals in the region and has already started to save staff substantial amounts of time when clinicians are reviewing crucial diagnostic images.

Also, for the first time, radiologists in East Lancashire are now able to work and report from home, helping to mitigate pressures and improve work life balance.

Dr Tom Newton, consultant radiologist and CCIO for the trust, said: “The PACS is robust even on low bandwidth connections. Home working has been part of our strategy for years and has now become possible.

“When on call, if you are at home you can log into the PACS and provide a comprehensive final opinion. This is an important feature in making the discipline more attractive, especially in the North West where we need to find ways to recruit and attract radiologists.

“It means that a radiologist potentially only needs to come to the hospital three days in a week and can work from home for two days. But in the current context of potential self-isolation and social distancing of staff, this is proving to be a crucial technology.”

The trust has already connected its PACS to neighbouring University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust and will soon connect to Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Other benefits include clinicians on the ward being able to use a Uniview function to create 3D reconstructions themselves, meaning radiographers no longer need to spend their time creating the reconstructions for clinicians.

In the near future, the trust will also decommission its separate breast PACS, moving to a single system. The trust has also moved to PACS based reporting and eventually other ‘ologies’ will be able to move to the PACS. The PACS is also expected to fully integrate into the trust’s electronic patient record when this is procured next year.

Jane Rendall, managing director at Sectra for the UK and Ireland, added: “Seeing staff benefit from the system immediately is really rewarding, and it’s gratifying to see this help the trust to implement a way of working that can contribute to the huge challenge currently facing the NHS. It’s also great to see the technology used to empower regional working – the only way forward in the NHS.”