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Two east of England NHS trusts to digitise pathology


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Doctor at imaging screens
Image source: Sectra

Two NHS hospital trusts in the east of England are to move their pathology services onto a cloud solution under a deal with medical imaging specialist Sectra.

East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust and West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust reached an agreement with the company in April and will be the first in the UK to deploy its solution based on Microsoft Azure under a fully managed service.

It will enable them to make use of archive storage facilities now available in the cloud, and for their staff to share and analyse samples remotely.

Sarah Rollo, pathology project manager at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The recent pandemic has highlighted the importance of being able to access slides remotely and the ability to provide flexibility and resilience in our service.

“Our consultants will have the ability to report routine and urgent work from home, shortly after it has been issued out of the laboratory. Consultants will be able to work collaboratively on cases from remote locations with simultaneous access to view and annotate patient slides.

“As a district general hospital, a proportion of our patients are referred to specialist hospitals. Improved data sharing with these specialist centres will improve the turnaround time in the patient’s pathway.

“Digital pathology has also facilitated the introduction of digital processes within the laboratory, reducing the need for manual transcription and improving patient safety.”

Easing collaboration

Dr Yinka Fashedemi, clinical lead for cellular pathology with East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, added: “It will also make it easier to work in collaboration with colleagues based at specialist hospitals to gain second opinions so that patients can begin any treatment they may need promptly.”

The digital programme is expected to support around 1.5 million examinations per year and specialist pathways, such as for cancer treatment.

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