Croydon NHS Eliminating Paper With New VNA

May 19, 2015

Croydon Health Services NHS Trust has selected a Vendor Neutral Archive (VNA) solution to help it move towards the Paperless NHS by 2018 target.

The Trust will be using the VNA, provided by content management solutions suppliers SynApps Solutions to extend its Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) and store patient x-ray images as it migrates from its National Programme for IT (NPfIT) contract.

Alongside the SynApps VNA, Croydon has recently renewed its core PACS contract with Sectra – the PACS side of the deal was signed in January and the VNA is set to go live in June.

Chief Clinical Information Officer (CCIO) at the Trust Dr Tony Newman-Sanders explained to 24N that the organisation wanted to take the opportunity presented by the re-procurement of a PACS solution to ensure it was done better the second time around.

When asked about the factors the Trust was looking for during the procurement process, Dr Newman-Sanders explained that an open source, non-proprietary solution was essential.

“There are some things that we would do differently second time round and one of those was not to store images in proprietary format because that limits you and complicates things, making you more beholden to the supplier when you want to move the data from one store to another,” he said.

“The other [issue] is that over the course of the programme, it did provide some limitations as to how easily we could share images between organisations.

“The great advantage of VNA is that it gets rid of both these issues, it protects our data” he added.

Besides underpinning the PACS solution at Croydon, the new VNA will enable the sharing of information and data more effectively across different departments of the Trust including acute and community services in a safe and effective manner not possible before.

The VNA already includes radiology data but is soon being expanded to include non-radiology files such as cardiology, obstetric ultrasound and videos of arthroscopies from theatre, endoscopy and medical photography.

Putting The VNA At The Heart Of Paperless Strategy 

However, the Croydon Trust will not be limiting its VNA to contain only image data and hopes it will eventually encompass a large range of non-imaging data such as structured and unstructured medical documents.

“We’re looking at connecting it to our share point Intranet so we can share management and HR documents, that’s a way down the line,” explained Dr Newman-Sanders.

According to Dr Newman-Sanders, this will gradually eliminate the use of paper around the Trust, helping it move towards the challenge set by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to replace paper with digital alternatives in the next three years.

He believes that 100% paperless is “absolutely achievable” and once organisations begin to break down paper use, it all starts to fall into place.

“Adult in-patient is getting pretty paperless. We’re pretty much completely without paper records or drug charts now and theatres and critical care are being rolled out and will be paperless very shortly,” Dr Newman-Sanders claimed.


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