Gateshead Health chooses BridgeHead’s VNA for image data management strategy


Initial phase will take control of archived PACS studies, dramatically reducing estimated localisation times from 10 months to 12 weeks

Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust, also known as QE Gateshead, has selected BridgeHead Software to implement its Vendor Neutral Archive (VNA) for a multi-staged image management project.

QE Gateshead is actively taking strategic decisions across the trust to create a comprehensive electronic patient record (EPR) and is embarking upon a data strategy to help facilitate the EPR, of which the VNA plays a significant part.

Initially, the project commences with the requirement for QE Gateshead to meet its obligations as it withdraws from the National PACS programme, part of the National Programme for IT, by taking control of all the PACS data currently residing in the LSP Central Data Store (CDS). After serving notice on its existing contract, which ends in June 2014, QE Gateshead has a limited time to bring its centrally-stored image data back under the trust’s full control. Utilising traditional localisation methods of standard DICOM Query/Retrieve across N3, the trust was working to an estimated 10-month timeframe to bring all of the data back from the CDS.

However, by working with BridgeHead, it is able to utilise the tape store from its HSM system, put in place as part of the originally-specified PACS environment, that contains a copy of all of the trust’s PACS data archived in the CDS. As a result, taking control of the image studies by transferring them into the BridgeHead VNA is estimated at a massively-reduced 12 weeks. These timings also include the storing of the latest 12 months of PACS image data, currently stored in the local cache, into the BridgeHead VNA. Finally, the trust intends to use the BridgeHead VNA as one of the target nodes for new imaging studies created by the go forward PACS.

Ultimately, phase one of the project will result in QE Gateshead using BridgeHead’s VNA as its local storage and management repository for all of its historic and current PACS data.

One of the reasons QE Gateshead selected BridgeHead’s VNA was as a result of its true vendor neutrality – BridgeHead’s VNA has the ability to interface with any PACS applications, regardless of the provider, as well as being able to work with any chosen storage device, irrespective of media or brand. This was very important as the trust plans to replace its PACS application and wanted to avoid vendor lock in. Consequently, QE Gateshead’s strategy was to ensure its chosen VNA could be utilised as the target archive for both existing images from the trust’s current PACS and those created by a new PACS in the future, essentially keeping all of their studies in one place.

The implementation of BridgeHead’s VNA will proceed in advance of any PACS replacement to ensure that all archived studies are consolidated into a local, central store, completely under QE Gateshead’s control. This will pave the way for the implementation of the go forward PACS application once selected.

In the future, QE Gateshead intends that the scope of the BridgeHead VNA extends to become its single, enterprise-wide archive for all clinical imaging. This would result in the VNA environment being open to data from other disciplines outside of radiology PACS, such as, but not limited to, endoscopy, medical photography and scanned documents.

Once the image data management strategy has been fully implemented, QE Gateshead will consider adding administrative data sources into the fold.

BridgeHead’s VNA is a subset of its wider Healthcare Data Management (HDM) Solution, which has the capability of storing and protecting all healthcare data, both clinical and administrative. By simply adding BridgeHead Agents to the solution as required, QE Gateshead will be able to extend the VNA environment to BridgeHead’s full solution, having the ability to archive and manage a greater variety and volume of hospital data. As a result, the system will offer a horizontal view of all data, enabling applications, such as its Medway EPR, to search for all data pertaining to a patient. By keeping clinical and administrative data in one place, and offering this back to the hospital’s EPR system, QE Gateshead will be ever closer to achieving its vision by providing a holistic view of a patient’s entire medical record.

“With the end of our current LSP contract looming, we have been tasked with removing all of our PACS data from the CDS and onto another storage platform to support ongoing patient care,” said Clare Jones, radiology IT systems manager at the trust.

Jim Beagle, president and chief executive of BridgeHead Software, added: “We are delighted to help Gateshead explore strategies to help set the pathway towards the vision of a holistic digital patient record, starting with the short-term tactical requirements to localise its data as it withdraws from the National PACS Programme.

“The BridgeHead approach to VNA is standards-based and vendor agnostic – that was extremely important to QE Gateshead to give the trust total control of its image data environment and avoid vendor lock in. Beyond the trust’s immediate challenges of PACS replacement and data migration, the BridgeHead VNA can be extended to the full HDM Solution and thereby act as the key enabler to effectively store and protect both clinical and administrative information across the trust. We look forward to driving forward on the short-term tactical objectives as well as a long-term strategic relationship to help QE Gateshead achieve its data management ambitions.”

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