A group of hospital trusts in the north of England has signed a five-year deal for a digital pathology solution to support their care for cancer patients.
North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust has signed the contract with imaging and cyber security company Sectra on behalf of the 10 trusts in the Northern Cancer Alliance.
It is aimed at improving care workflows through enabling pathologists to instantly access and share images and information between departments and locations.
Dr Paul Barrett, histopathologist at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is very ambitious. Nobody has done this before on this scale.”
He also described it as “the biggest and most exciting change to the way cellular pathologists work in a generation”.
The solution will be used to support 115 pathologists across the trust, who will be able to access all pathology images produced by the consortium and obtain one view of a patient record from a single interface. Pathology slices will be scanned and sent to a single data repository.
It will be integrated with their local laboratory information and management systems and includes tools to support diagnosis and high precision reporting. Sectra said this will enable the trusts to produce structured reports that make it easier to extract information for analysis and research.
Alison Featherstone, Northern Cancer Alliance manager, said: “The system will support earlier diagnosis of cancers by using computer aided algorithms that can highlight areas of images where cells are dividing rapidly and guide the clinicians to those areas for examination.
“It will also enable more accurate measurement of and comparison of images using panoramic images.”
Image: Representatives of the Northern Care Alliance and Sectra at the contract signing