The first trust in the Northern Pathology Imaging Co-operative (NPIC) has deployed a picture archiving and communication system (PACS) which will allow pathology images to be viewed by clinicians from a range of devices.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals went live with the Sectra system in October with more trusts and hospitals in the NPIC expected to follow suit later this year and into 2021.

Trusts to follow Leeds will include Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, and Airedale NHS Foundation Trust.

It is hoped the new system will allow pathologists to work more quickly, gain easier access to opinions from colleagues and manage rising demand.

Dr Darren Treanor, NPIC’s director, and a practising pathologist at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Leeds is the first of our six sites to go fully digital. Collectively, we are modernising our pathology services to become amongst the most advanced and interconnected anywhere in the world, and we hope to share our experience to help others across the NHS and beyond.

“The days of using glass slides and paper notes to determine and communicate a patient’s diagnosis are numbered. As we move to digital ways of working we can improve quality and create a more structured digital workflow.”

The programme is part of a £17m partnership between industry, the NHS and academia and funded by UK Research and Innovation and industry partners to connect pathology services across the region using technology.

Jane Rendall, UK managing director for Sectra, added: “Digital pathology is about far more than replacing microscopes with computers. It’s about fundamentally changing how pathology services can be configured across regions and across the country, so that patients can receive faster diagnoses, services can become more intelligent, and the NHS can make best use of its valuable pathologists. NPIC is at the forefront of this transformation.”