White paper reveals new vision for NHS radiology screening

Philips report highlights unprecedented challenges facing the UK’s health system and urgent need to expand access to imaging services

Radiology services are under increased pressure, with more patients, a backlog from the COVID-pandemic, and a shortage of qualified staff. This makes innovations such as Philips' ROCC solution an attractive proposition for NHS trusts

As radiology services across the UK continue to navigate clearing backlogs and manage increasing demand, Philips UKI has this week launched a report outlining a new vision for radiology screening that supports the NHS’s digital transformation plans.

As the UK and Ireland moves into managing a long-term relationship with COVID-19, radiology departments are confronted with an ageing population with increasing co-morbidities, a challenging workforce crisis, significant patient backlogs, and increased pressures on imaging services.

The new white paper outlines details of Philips’ pioneering Radiology Operations Command Centre (ROCC) solution, a new model for imaging that eases pressure on acute hospitals while enhancing senior specialist support for radiology teams.

The pioneering model – a vendor-neutral, multi-modality, radiology operations command centre – means that,irrespective of the imaging equipment used by radiology departments in acute settings; hospitals can adopt a ‘hub and spoke’ model for imaging, using their existing technology.

Radiology departments in particular will face significant challenges in the coming years, therefore it is mission critical that new ways to manage patient pathways are implemented

ROCC connects a pool of imaging experts at a central command centre with radiographers and onsite staff in hospital locations to provide real-time, over-the-shoulder collaboration and support.

Supporting the workforce

ROCC’s tele-augmentation of available expertise and resources helps strengthen radiology networks and improves the quality and delivery of services in both the short and long term.

And the remote expert will allow radiography staff to perform scans with more confidence, precision, speed, and quality.

By improving imaging exam quality in this way, hospital trusts can decrease the number of recalls or repeat scans, which are often costly and detrimental to the patient experience, and cause staff ‘burn out’.

The ROCC model enables the following outcomes:

  • Extended patient access to complex procedures and specialty subservices, with additional layers of senior specialist support
  • Expanded and more-flexible scope of service hours (nights and weekends) to deliver convenience for patients
  • Reduced recalls and repeated scans due to improved image quality and additional expertise, enabling radiology services to deliver ‘right first time’ diagnoses

    Expanding access, improving quality and reducing costs

    Those living in communities with social deprivation already face longer waiting times but, according to Sir Michael Marmot’s report into health inequality, this has been further exacerbated by the pandemic.

    In line with Philips’ goal of reducing healthcare inequalities across the UK, ROCC aims to help hospitals deliver higher quality testing to more people across the country.

    And, alongside ROCC, the creation of Philips’ community diagnostic hubs, enables patients to undertake tests in non-acute community settings, increasing access to diagnostic testing and helping to reduce inequalities.

    Commenting on the launch of the white paper, Neil Mesher, Philips UKI chief executive, said: “Radiology departments in particular will face significant challenges in the coming years, therefore it is mission critical that new ways to manage patient pathways are implemented.”

    ROCC has the potential to enable NHS trusts across the UK to virtualise and digitise imaging

    “To support radiology services in navigating these pressures and prepare them to manage projected increasing demand, Philips has pioneered a world-first vendor-agnostic Radiology Operations Command Centre (ROCC).”

    Welcoming the benefits ROCC will bring to NHS services, Stephanie Holden, managed services director of solutions at Philips, added: “ROCC has the potential to enable NHS trusts across the UK to virtualise and digitise imaging.

    “Moreover, as it is the first vendor-agnostic solution, it will also foster a spirit of collaboration and expertise sharing, improve training, and help maximise value of staff.”

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