Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has successfully completed what is said to be one of the UK’s largest image migration projects.
With help from Dell, Agfa and healthcare data management specialists BridgeHead Software, the Trust has been able to transfer a total of 1.7 million radiology studies – or, 126 million DICOM images and 27 terabytes of data – from the central data store to a new Vendor Neutral Archive (VNA).
BridgeHead has provided Bradford with its HealthStore VNA and helped transfer the data at a rate of 1.4 million images per day.
The Trust began the project because its contract for the National Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) Programme, a part of the failed National Programme for IT (NPfIT), was ending in June 2014.
“The migration of data from the central data store to an in-house VNA has facilitated our exit from the National PACS contract with the benefit of providing us with a more resilient local solution,” claimed Dr Jonathan Barber, divisional clinical director of clinical support services at the Trust.
“This investment will allow us to plan and realise the second stage of our PACS replacement, which is to provide an updated and integrated, long-term imaging archive, manipulation and display solution.
“For the first time, this will allow us to archive manipulate and share images from other clinical modalities outside Radiology, in such specialities as Cardiology, Ophthalmology, and Medical Illustration.
“I consider this ability as key to the integration of medical imaging in the development and deployment of our new Electronic Patient Record (EPR),” Dr Barber added.
HealthStore allows the Bradford Trust to take complete ownership of its radiology image data, stored and protect, all without being tied to an application or hardware technology.
It also supports Bradford’s drive to create a hospital-wide enterprise archive for all medical and non-medical images and other clinical and non-clinical data that can be accessed at the point of care.
Managing data from a single location makes it easier to share with clinicians and other authorised personnel when needed, whilst ensuring the information is safeguarded appropriately.
“Bradford has introduced one of the first truly neutral stores of PACS images in the country,” claimed Cindy Fedell, executive director of informatics and IT at the Trust.
“Whilst no project of this stature is deployed with its share of challenges, the Trust and suppliers should be commended for their willingness to work together to provide a solution that enables our organisation to take a far more strategic approach it its image data management.
“Any Trust looking to exit from the National Programme who wants to effectively manage clinical and non-clinical data across the entire hospital should consider an independent VNA approach,” Fedell added.
BridgeHead Software is an independent software company founded and housed in the UK and it focuses 100% of its attention on healthcare IT.
Its key principles surround the management of data in the healthcare environment and how this can be stored, protected and shared in an appropriate manner.
Its HealthStore solution is aimed at storing and archiving data which rarely changes if at all and is rarely recalled – for example, in the radiology department, once treatment is complete, images are often never used again.
Despite this infrequent use, it is still necessary to retain this data and HealthStore is designed to handle the huge volumes of images that can accumulate very quickly.
BridgeHead CEO Jim Beagle revealed to 24N that he views VNA as somewhat of a buzzword and believes Independent Clinical Archive may be a more appropriate term in the future.
Beagle told us that VNA used to be synonymous with radiology but as more and more NHS bodies seek paperless alternatives, more departments such as cardiology as seeking VNA solutions.
According to him, VNAs or independent clinical archives are becoming increasingly important to the healthcare industry.
Beagle says the healthcare industry is “swamped” with apps that don’t really talk to each other which makes accessing and saving data difficult.
VNA solutions remove the power from the vendors and gives it back to the hospital because it separates the data from the application and optimises the use of storage which can grow as the data contained within does.