Barts Health and Sectra Start Digital Pathology Programme for Three Million People

SectraA programme to enhance patient diagnoses, speed up turnaround times and modernise pathology services has begun at Barts Health NHS Trust. The initiative will improve clinical collaboration and access to specialists, build foundations for the introduction of AI, and harness data to support life sciences and important clinical research.

Barts Health NHS Trust has started to deploy a digital pathology network spanning multiple hospitals that will transform pathology services, improve patient care, and support ground-breaking research.

Microscopes will no longer be relied on, professionals will be equipped with advanced imaging technology analysis tools and the means to better collaborate, and the initiative will allow faster, safer and improved reporting of important examinations for a population of more than three million people.

The programme, being delivered in collaboration with medical imaging IT and cybersecurity company Sectra, is being deployed across four hospitals within Barts Health with the help of funding provided by Barts Charity. The scalable imaging technology platform underpinning the initiative will also provide potential for future expansion of the programme to additional trusts.

Dr Hasan Rizvi, a consultant histopathologist at Barts Health, and clinical lead for the digital pathology programme, said: “We are creating a connected network of pathologists. People will no longer be chained to microscopes. It will be much easier for pathologists to collaborate with colleagues and to instantly share a link to images with other specialists for their input, potentially bringing expertise from across London, the UK, or even from around the world, to our patients.

"Removing analogue workflow processes will remove unnecessary delay in diagnoses, which in the case of acute tumours, could mean the difference between life and death. Staff will no longer need to prepare slides to be sent via courier, where they might be broken or go missing. Scarce specialists will save hours of their time traditionally spent screening slides. We will be better positioned to produce the next generation of pathologists. And patients themselves will have access to their pathology images allowing them to easily move between hospitals or seek second opinions without their pathology lagging behind."

The digital programme will support strategic trust ambitions around patient care and life sciences and will address pathology workforce challenges currently faced in the NHS.

Sarah Jensen, chief information officer at Barts Health NHS Trust, said: "Digitising pathology is fundamental to Barts Health making great strides towards preventative care, to solving problems for the people who need it the most, to removing geography constraints for our workforce and to opening research potential for one of the largest trusts in the NHS.

"This programme is hugely important to connecting the dots for life sciences - a central focus for the future of our health services. Codified data will contribute to developing longitudinal health records for patients. And researchers will be able to inform research and back up findings with links to slides.

"For patients with cancer and other rare diseases, this is a high priority, allowing us to bring together pockets of clinical information, to build the infrastructure needed for genomic sequencing and to build a data core that includes pathology."

The programme is expected to help with recruitment and retention. It will create a modern workplace, will enable flexible virtual training and will allow professionals to carry out more work from home, which could help to retain professionals currently approaching retirement, for example.

It will also transform how multi-disciplinary teams function. "A cancer MDT might have a radiologist, a histopathologist and an oncologist or clinician in the room, deciding a treatment plan, diagnosis, or therapy," added Jensen. "Currently there is still a microscope, and a radiology workstation in the room. In the Sectra system, professionals can pull up radiology images and pathology images simultaneously, allowing better comparisons and more objective clinical decisions, whilst saving significant preparation time that would be otherwise required ahead of meetings."

Specifically, pathologists will interact with a platform known as a picture archiving and communication system or PACS, provided by Sectra, which will display high resolution images of slides on screen. The enterprise platform is already used in the trust by radiologists to examine patient images including x-rays, CT scans, and MRIs.

Jane Rendall, UK managing director at Sectra, said: "Barts Health is our longest established partner in the NHS. The team at the trust has shown remarkable commitment to using the radiology module of our imaging technology to innovate in streamlining workflows and in delivering patient care. We are privileged to be working with the trust to deliver the digitisation of another crucial discipline as part of its strategic vision. We look forward to seeing the results for pathologists, other healthcare professionals and patients from the implementation, and to sharing our experiences from working with other parts of the NHS in the digital pathology domain."

Barts Health NHS Trust

With a turnover of £1.7billion and a workforce of around 17,000, Barts Health is a leading healthcare provider in Britain and one of the largest NHS trusts in the country. The Trust's five hospitals - St Bartholomew's Hospital in the City, including the Barts Heart Centre, The Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, Newham Hospital in Plaistow, Whipps Cross Hospital in Leytonstone and Mile End Hospital – deliver high quality compassionate care to the 2.5 million people of east London and beyond.

About Barts Charity

Barts Charity funds exceptional healthcare for the people of East London and beyond. We fund ground-breaking medical research, state-of-the-art equipment, and innovative healthcare projects which go above and beyond what the NHS can provide. Our work supports staff and patients at the five hospitals within Barts Health Trust, as well as clinicians and researchers at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry (part of Queen Mary University London).

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.

Most Popular Now

AI could Improve Heart Attack Diagnosis …

An algorithm developed using artificial intelligence (AI) could soon be used by doctors to diagnose heart attacks with better speed and accuracy than ever before, according to new research from...

New Algorithm can Predict Diabetic Kidne…

Researchers from Sanford Burnham Prebys and the Chinese University of Hong Kong have developed a computational approach to predict whether a person with type 2 diabetes will develop kidney disease...

AI Predicts Future Pancreatic Cancer

An artificial intelligence (AI) tool has successfully identified people at the highest risk for pancreatic cancer up to three years before diagnosis using solely the patients’ medical records, according to...

AI Voice Coach Shows Promise in Depressi…

Artificial intelligence (AI) could be a useful tool in mental health treatment, according to the results of a new pilot study led by University of Illinois Chicago researchers. The study...

ChatGPT Passes Radiology Board Exam

The latest version of ChatGPT passed a radiology board-style exam, highlighting the potential of large language models but also revealing limitations that hinder reliability, according to two new research studies...

Scientists develop AI tool to predict Pa…

Scientists from UNSW Sydney with collaborators at Boston University have developed a tool that shows early promise in detecting Parkinson’s disease years before the first symptoms start appearing. In research published...

Better than Humans: AI in Intensive Care…

In the future, artificial intelligence (AI) will play an important role in medicine. In diagnostics, successful tests have already been performed: for example, the computer can learn to categorise images...

Could Online Gaming Social Networks Have…

For millions of Americans playing some type of video game is a daily occurrence. Games can be a welcome form of entertainment and relaxation for many, and the internet can...

Siemens Healthineers Opens State-of-the-…

Siemens Healthineers has opened its new Education & Development Center (EDC) in Erlangen. The open-plan building offers space for the currently 240 trainees and integrated degree program participants in Erlangen...

Siemens Healthineers Invests 80 Million …

Siemens Healthineers is building a new factory in Forchheim for the cultivation of crystals for semiconductor production. The total investment amounts to 80 million euros. The new factory is expected...

Orion Health Welcomes New Sales Director…

Orion Health has appointed a new sales director for Scotland. Gabriel Radford, who has a background in business development for companies working with health, social care, and local government, will...

AI Tool Outperforms Human Emergency Call…

A team of researchers from Denmark have developed a new artificial intelligence (AI) framework to address the number of strokes that go unrecognised by human emergency call handlers.(1) The framework...