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News & Views

Radiology goes cloud with SynApps

Enterprise content management specialist, SynApps Solutions ( and Aptvision ( have delivered the first phase of a major integrated digital radiology information system to transform the Radiology department of Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust (BHRUT), in what the Radiology department is calling ‘the biggest structural change it will make this year’.

Implemented in partnership with SynApps, the secure, cloud-based Unified Health Information System from Aptvision provides radiology teams with centralized oversight of the entire workload across its different sites and is already improving the oversight of the vetting and prioritization of patient CT and MRI for patients referred.

Phase One of the project has just gone live, with much of the new secure, web-hosted system now in place.  This will now allow the Trust to triage and process the 600,000 radiology referrals it receives each year – including 5,000 Emergency Department referrals monthly – with greater efficiency.  Its previous system was dated, and processes still relied heavily on paper referrals.

“Having centralized, at-a-glance oversight of our vetting queues means we are no longer reliant on staff manually finding and collating paper referrals across multiple sites,” says James Lovell, Operational Manager for Radiology, BHRUT.  “Now we can monitor everything, cross site, via a single window in the Aptvision system.”

In the second phase of the project, BHRUT will switch on Aptvision’s order communications facility, so that the clock can start from the moment referrals come in electronically.  This will take the Trust closer to its goal of same-day vetting for urgent referrals.  “By the end of phase two, we’ll be completely paperless – doing away with that sea of yellow forms,” adds Michael Hepworth, the Trust’s Radiology Speciality Manager.  “This is transformation on a massive scale.”

In due course Radiology will embrace the system’s self-service portal option, giving patients more control over their appointments.

A year into the five-year project, BHRUT is impressed with the potential of the new integrated digital system, and the seamless service provided by SynApps and Aptvision.  The UK-Irish technology partnership beat seven other suppliers to the contract.

The SynApps-Aptvision solution, which is 100% web based, allows BHRUT’s radiology services to be coordinated digitally from anywhere as part of a ‘paperless NHS’.  Ultimately it will enable better patient outcomes, improved resource use, and fewer missed appointments (‘no shows’ are thought to account for up to 10% of appointments across public hospitals.)

Designed to integrate seamlessly with other Trust systems, the system offers controls to referring doctors, too and can prevent overbookings.

SynApps, which has a strong presence in the NHS for providing integrated information systems, is providing comprehensive implementation services. “This is completely seamless to us.  SynApps’ involvement gave us the confidence to choose the Aptvision system, as the company is very well known for its information systems services across the NHS. But having the two companies work so seamlessly as one is invaluable,” says Hepworth.

“We’re investing heavily at the moment, doubling our scanner numbers and increasing our scanning centres but, of the £12 million we’ve allocated, the move to the new SynApps-Aptvision system is the single biggest transformation we’ll make this year.”

BHRUT is a busy acute health service provider operating two main hospital sites - King George Hospital in Goodmayes and Queen's Hospital in Romford. It runs one of the busiest Emergency Departments in England.  The Radiology team provides services from three satellite sites in northeast London, including the new Community Diagnostic Centre at Barking Hospital. The radiology operation is complex, spanning theatres, dedicated scanning departments, and community facilities.  With a clear, consolidated, digital view across all referrals received at all sites, the Trust expects to radically reduce the turnaround times for priority scanning and reporting.

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