Private hospital digitises patient records to improve breast cancer treatment

Private hospital group HCA is creating digital records to improve access to clinical images for clinicians screening for breast cancer

Private hospital group HCA is creating digital records to improve access to clinical images for clinicians screening breast cancer.

Breast cancer screening is becoming more advanced and access to patient images is difficult; sometimes it is only possible from certain places because of the size and complexity of images and the proprietary nature of existing imaging platforms.

Through the use of Perceptive Software’s Vendor Neutral Archive (VNA) in its 24 locations, HCA can make clinical images available with other digital patient records in any location, rather than only from certain locations that have the right technology. This allows medical staff to see the full medical history of a patient.

It also means patients can attend any centre and the medical staff will be able to see all their records together.

“Clinical content is growing exponentially and increasing in complexity. The challenge is how to ensure such complex images routinely become part of the patient record,” said Kaye Bonython, head of imaging informatics at HCA.

“Using VNA we are able to take a more efficient approach to how we handle patient data and records, ensuring all the relevant information is available to clinicians as and when they need it.”

“It gives our clinicians a more holistic view of patients, improving care and record keeping while giving patients the flexibility to choose the screening centre and treatment facilities that are right for them. It will act as a gold standard for breast cancer screening, enabling earlier detection and better treatment plans,” she said.

UK NHS trusts have invested in the Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS), which has been one of the more successful examples of NHS IT.

PACS is a digital imaging service that combines hardware and software to store, manage, retrieve, distribute and present images used by hospital X-ray departments. 

These systems, which take digital images and send them electronically, replaced the use of film and sending copies to the relevant medical staff for diagnosis. PACS is the picture archiving and communications system.

The benefits are obvious. For example, a doctor in the US can look at a UK X-ray or a doctor can view it while travelling.

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