Ground-breaking joint venture for UCLH imaging services 

22/03/2012 00:00 

Urgent diagnostic images are winging their way from London to Australia throughout the night in a ground-breaking venture between UCLH and a leading provider of remote imaging services.

Dr Charles House, divisional clinical director for UCLH's imaging services

UCLH has teamed up with Imaging Partners Online Ltd (IPO) in a venture, which provides a rapid, round-the-clock reporting system and improved efficiency.

It means a 24/7, 365-days-a-year imaging reporting service, which is available to hospitals across the UK and could eventually include hospitals in Europe and the Middle East.  This NHS joint venture is known as Radiology Reporting Online (RRO) and provides daytime, after hours, urgent, and locum reporting of diagnostic images.

Hospitals across the NHS and globally can access radiology expertise in specialities where they have none, for example neuroradiology.

Dr Charles House, divisional clinical director for UCLH's imaging services, said: "This means that UCLH and clients of RRO will have a seamless, 24/7 imaging service, which is of the highest quality, drawing on IPO’s proven radiology reporting systems and UCLH’s expertise."

The impact of RRO on the imaging department at UCLH has contributed to a transformational change. Outpatient CT scans which were taking, on average 26 days from exam to report in January 2011, are now taking around 2.5 days. The waiting time for reporting routine GP scans has been reduced from up to two weeks to 24 hours. 

RRO managing director Rhiannon Williams said as well as improving quality the venture was providing greater efficiency and productivity for the NHS.

Radiology Reporting Online headquarters at UCLH

She added: “Most of our clients only have a few scans to report overnight and it is expensive to have a doctor in the hospital to report three of four urgent scans, especially when the doctor then has the next day off in order to comply with the European Working Time Directive.  Using our service will generate real cost savings for imaging departments”

At UCLH, it has meant more radiology registrars, who previously provided the out-of-hours reporting service, have been available to work during the day and at weekends – increasing the UCLH radiology department’s capacity and improving the quality of care to patients and the training of junior doctors.

RRO conducts daily audits which have indicated that the quality of the reports has remained at the highest standard.  The organisation has a strong culture of driving continuous quality improvement and the involvement of UCLH enhances this further.

Sir Robert Naylor, UCLH chief executive, said: “There were three major reasons why we went into this project. Firstly to improve productivity, secondly to speed up reporting to enable clinicians to make early diagnostic decisions and thirdly to save money.

“Innovation, enterprise and collaboration are essential if the NHS is going to meet the Nicholson Challenge. This is an example of the NHS at its innovative best, working in a commercial partnership to improve efficiency and productivity along with the quality of care for patients.

“UCLH is internationally renowned for its clinical, research and academic accomplishments, while Imaging Partners Online brings to the joint venture a proven offsite reporting service model, as well as a depth of management experience in teleradiology technology.”


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