A new computer system, already in place at five hospitals in Glasgow, is being rolled-out across Scotland and will change the way doctors study x-rays for ever making holding them up to a light box a thing of the past.
The Picture Archive and Communications System (PACS) will allow doctors to look at scans and other digital images for patients no matter where the image has been taken in Scotland and is set to revolutionise radiology services.
Over the next two years every hospital in Scotland will have the system installed giving a national database of x-ray images accessible by doctors on wards, at outpatient clinics and radiology departments.
The system is in place at a number of hospitals across Scotland including the Southern General, Victoria Infirmary, Gartnavel General, Royal Hospital for Sick Children and, just recently, the Western.
Dr Andrew Downie, Consultant Radiologist at the Victoria has been using the new system since it was installed at the Victoria last September and he believes that it is a major step in improving patient care.
He said: “The main advantage of this system is the fact images are available at the touch of a button when you need them.
“No more reliance on just one film copy of an x-ray or scan or wasting time waiting on an image that is in use in another part of the hospital. With the new Pacs system, we no longer have these problems and have all our patients’ medical images available at the click of a mouse.
“Other benefits include a facility within the system which can call up any previous x-rays or scans that a patient has had and it allows radiologists to quickly file reports on images using a computer microphone without having to track down film packets first.”
Jim Crombie, Director of Diagnostics is leading this project for Glasgow and Clyde and has overseen the successful project delivery to date.
Jim said, “This is a major change in the way x-rays are stored but from a clinical and patient perspective it will revolutionise the way radiologists work.
“This investment by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde means that the Imaging provision across our board area is at the cutting edge of technology and establishes our services as leading the way in Scotland.
“From a financial point of view the initial cost of installing the system is about £3.1m but with the savings on x-rays film of around £900K per annum, we expect the new system will pay for itself in the next four years.
The timescale for the remaining Greater Glasgow and Clyde hospitals is:
Stobhill – September 2007 to May 2008
Glasgow Royal Infirmary – October 2007 to May 2008
Royal Alexandra Hospital- March 2008
Vale of Leven- mid 2008
Inverclyde Royal Hospital- 2008
For further information contact 0141 201 4429.