UK's Largest Teleradiology Provider Medica Procures Sectra PACS

SectraMedica, which provides more than a million radiology reports each year to help NHS hospitals deliver timely diagnoses and effective care for patients, has announced it will deploy technology from medical imaging IT and cybersecurity company Sectra.

More than 450 radiologists and reporting radiographers who work with the teleradiology provider, will be supported by a new enterprise imaging solution, as they deliver important elective and emergency reports around the clock for more than 100 hospitals in the UK.

Known as a picture archiving and communication system, or PACS, the system will be used by reporters to examine a wide range of patient imaging - including x-rays and CT scans, and will help them deliver informed reports to hospitals when they need it.

Dr Robert Lavis, radiologist and clinical director at Medica, said: "Our current PACS has served us well for many years but with our contract ending in 2022 we took the opportunity to evaluate the marketplace. Sectra emerged as a clear preference based not only on the excellent core solution they offer now but also because of their appetite to partner with us to develop new ways to support our clients in the future. We rely heavily on our PACS and this new flexible platform will provide our reporters with excellent reporting tools as soon as it is deployed. Integrated, anatomy-based imaging linking will for example simplify workflows needed to report cancer-based imaging with automated cross reference to previous studies. In addition, Sectra will support Medica to deliver our FutureTech Programme plans over time. For example, it offers the opportunity to easily deploy additional artificial intelligence tools from the Sectra Amplifier Store as part of our Augmented Intelligence programme."

Workflow allocation tools will automate a number of processes which are currently carried out manually. For example, when an exam is received from an NHS client the PACS can be configured to automatically populate a worklist for an individual reporter with the specific clinical expertise required for that exam. The PACS will also integrate directly with Medica’s existing rostering system to make efficient use of staff availability.

Dr Lavis commented: "As a workflow tool, we will exploit functionality to help us to efficiently direct the right study to the right radiologist at the right time, helping us to respond with appropriate clinical expertise, and to the specific needs of patients and clients at the time they need it. For example when we are dealing with a NightHawk acute stroke patient, the imaging can be routed to a consultant neuroradiologist for an urgent report within a few minutes of imaging being captured enabling rapid patient management decisions.

"For people within our organisation, we believe the system will allow reporters to become more efficient, streamlining their workflows, helping us to continue to improve turnaround times for patient scan reports, maximise throughput of patients and to improve working life for radiologists, other reporters and administrative colleagues."

The PACS will support all of Medica's business areas today. For elective reporting this includes CT scans, MRI, x-rays, and nuclear medicine, and for specialist reports it will be used to examine areas including lung nodules, virtual colonoscopies, and positron emission tomography (PET) scans. For emergency NightHawk reporting, Medica provides hospitals with a wide range of urgent imaging reports in an average of 23 minutes.

The development comes as NHS radiology departments across the country continue to face year on year increases in demand.

The new PACS also provides Medica with potential flexibility to expand its services into areas including digital pathology, with many hospital pathology departments facing similar demand challenges to those in radiology.

Jane Rendall, managing director for Sectra in the UK and Ireland, said: "Our partnership with Medica will help the organisation respond to rising pressures in a crucial area of diagnostics for the NHS. Technology can play an important supportive role in improving efficiency and in improving access to scarce expertise. We look forward to progressing this deployment and to helping the hundreds of professionals who will use the system."

About Medica Group PLC

Medica intends to lead the way in telemedicine and is the market leader in the UK and Ireland for the provision of teleradiology services, providing outsourced interpretation and reporting of MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), CT (computerised tomography), ultrasound and plain film (x-ray) images. In addition Medica is the market leader for the provision of retinal diagnostic screening in Ireland where it also provides selective managed services in diagnostics to the public and private sectors

In the UK, Medica currently offers two primary services to hospital radiology departments:

  • NightHawk, urgent reporting service, and
  • Elective which includes routine cross-sectional reporting on MRI and CT scans, and routine plain film reporting on x-ray images.

Medica contracts with the largest pool of consultant radiologists in the UK and Ireland, performing remote access teleradiology across its customer base of more than 100 NHS Trusts in the UK, the Irish HSE, private hospital groups and diagnostic imaging companies. This enables the Company to offer a fast, responsive service both during the day and importantly supporting urgent out-of-hours reporting.

Medica has developed a bespoke, secure IT platform that provides market-leading linkage between a hospital's Radiology Information System (RIS) and consultant radiologists who contract with the Company. Direct RIS access ensures that where the wider patient medical history is available, it can be reviewed by the consultant as part of every report.

About Sectra

With more than 30 years of innovation and approaching 2,000 installations worldwide, Sectra is a leading global provider of imaging IT solutions that support healthcare in achieving patient-centric care. Sectra offers an enterprise imaging solution comprising PACS for imaging-intense departments (radiology, pathology, cardiology, orthopaedics), VNA, and share and collaborate solutions.

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