X-rays duplicated as hospitals hit file transfer problems

A company secretary had to have two sets of X-rays after a hospital in Somerset had problems sending electronic images of his broken arm to another hospital...

A company secretary had to have two sets of X-rays after a hospital in Somerset had problems sending electronic images of his broken arm to another hospital in the same county.

Roger Conway broke his arm when he stepped into a gap between a ramp and bollards at alteration works at Bristol Airport.

He went to the accident and emergency unit at Weston General Hospital, where his arm was x-rayed using the PACS [picture archiving and communications system] technology. He opted for treatment at his local Musgrove Park Hospital at Taunton, nearly 30 miles from Weston.

But Weston, which has pioneered the use of centrally-chosen IT systems as part of the £12.7bn National Programme for IT [NPfIT], had difficulties transferring Conway's digital images and radiology notes to Musgrove Park, either by file transfer or email.

As a result, Conway says his time - and that of clinical staff - was wasted as he had to have the same x-rays taken again.

The case highlights widespread problems with the electronic transfers of PACS x-ray images between hospitals. PACS has been singled out by ministers as a particularly successful part of the NPfIT.

Full story on the IT projects blog

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