BridgeHead VNA at forefront of North Middlesex University Hospital’s data transformation programme

HealthStore helps trust meet Government's drive for a paperless NHS

North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust has selected BridgeHead Software’s Independent Clinical Archive, HealthStore, also referred to as a next-generation Vendor Neutral Archive (VNA), to assist it in the long-term storage, protection and sharing of radiology images following its exit from the National Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS) contracts.

The hospital also intends to use HealthStore alongside its new Electronic Document Management System (EDMS) to build an enterprise-wide data repository to help meet its obligations under the Government’s Better Care Fund plan and health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s vision of a paperless NHS.

The north London hospital’s Local Service Provider (LSP) contract for PACS was due to end in June 2015. In 2012, the trust began procurement for a new PACS, Radiology Information System (RIS) and an independent VNA through NHS Supply Chain.

Following a shortlisting to six providers, the hospital selected BridgeHead’s next generation VNA, HealthStore. The contract was awarded in September 2014.

The ending of our PACS LSP presented us with an opportunity to rethink our data management strategy and consider a VNA independent from PACS and RIS that was truly application agnostic and could scale across the hospital to manage all data types

Soon after the award for BridgeHead’s HealthStore, the hospital decided to expand the use of the VNA to act as the repository for its ambitious EDMS project, which will scan all patient notes and provide electronic access for clinicians. The trust’s own internally-developed clinical portal will also interface into the VNA, providing mobile and fixed access to patient notes at the point of need.

Eddie Webb, North Middlesex University Hospital’s head of IT, said: “Initially, we just wanted a VNA for PACS, but the hospital was going through a transformation programme looking at how we use data and who requires access to that data.

“The ending of our PACS LSP presented us with an opportunity to rethink our data management strategy and consider a VNA independent from PACS and RIS that was truly application agnostic and could scale across the hospital to manage all data types, not just medical images.

“Now we have HealthStore and, in five years time when we may look at PACS again, or any other application refresh, we will not be tied to any specific vendor – our data will be stored centrally and available to any application we choose and data migration will be significantly easier.”

Peter Hales, the hospital’s RIS and PACS manager, added: “The ability that HealthStore brings to manage radiology data, as well as other relevant information across all platforms, will benefit clinicians and patients alike. Previously, patient data was stored locally to departmental machines all requiring different passwords to allow access. Now, with the correct identity policies in place, clinicians can recall all information pertinent to the patient. It is much faster and, therefore, provides greater efficiency and better levels of patient care.”

To deliver Hunt’s mandated digital vision and also the Better Care Fund plan, the hospital wanted to consider data holistically across the organisation. It began looking at how to build an ecosystem whereby all of its different stakeholders – including GPs in the longer term – could access the data they needed to achieve better quality care and enhance the patient experience.

Musadiq Subar, the hospital’s IT programme manager and clinical technical architect, said: “Our VNA approach has the capability to push data from source to the applications and/or individuals that need it, when they need it.”

He added: “Jeremy Hunt has mandated that hospitals are digital by 2018. At North Mid we aim to achieve this earlier in 2016/17 using our electronic document management system.

Data needs to be at the centre of our care continuum and our VNA approach to data management ensures that information about patients is available no matter where in the hospital the care is provided

“For us, it makes absolute sense to use our VNA alongside our EDMS. I have no doubts about the suitability or robustness of the system. BridgeHead has excellent clinical and healthcare experience and demonstrated the applicability of their next generation VNA, HealthStore, to this.”

The hospital is now actively working with third-party care, primary care and secondary care providers and mental health agencies to understand what data they need and how they can access it.

Musadiq said: “The healthcare space is very dynamic. The integration of health and social care and the roles of clinical commissioning groups and third-party care providers in the community are evolving. Data needs to be at the centre of our care continuum and our VNA approach to data management ensures that information about patients is available no matter where in the hospital the care is provided.”

Jim Beagle, chief executive of BridgeHead Software, said: “The North Middlesex University Hospital team involved in this project are true visionaries. They should be commended on having the confidence to take a long-term and strategic approach to their data management.

“We have long championed VNA as the enterprise-wide repository that can be deployed in an evolutionary manner starting with one department like radiology and rapidly extending to all types of data and applications – as with the hospital’s EDMS initiative.”

The VNA is being delivered as part of a five-year managed service; the key drivers being that the VNA is a new technology to the trust and they wanted to ensure that the IT team could focus on strategic delivery and not solely on system management.

Companies