X-ray images of patients with suspected COVID-19 among other diseases are essential to providing diagnoses quickly, with earlier diagnosis central to achieving the best possible clinical results. But COVID-19 has put X-ray imaging services under intense pressure, with a higher caseload alongside new challenges to navigate such as social distancing and heightened infection control measures.
Delays in medical screening to diagnose diseases like cancer have been widely reported across the UK, with systems struggling to cope with increased demand.
To find a solution, Health Boards across Wales have been working with Fujifilm Medical Systems to install reporting systems to allow radiologists to work flexibly from home and view X-ray images without the need to come into hospital. This allows faster results and the possibility of seven-day a week reporting, avoiding a weekend delay.
Fujifilm’s unique and proprietary technologies mean that the radiologist’s workstation can be replicated in a home environment with minimal or no impact on reporting performance, even over low-bandwidth connections. The state-of-the-art technology includes voice recognition and 3D image rendering, presenting radiologists with the same graphical user interface that they see in the hospital.
This provides the Health Boards with the ability to increase capacity, and contributes significantly to meeting the heightened reporting demands created by the pandemic.
Dubbed “Operation Workstation”, the project also means that key NHS staff who have been working flat-out during the pandemic can reduce their own risk of infection through reporting from the safety of their own homes.
Home reporting workstations have been deployed to sites across Wales with the assistance of Fujifilm’s Medical Systems teams.
Dr. Sally Bolt, Consultant Radiologist and one of the Clinical Directors at Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board said: “Once the scale of the Coronavirus pandemic became clear, as a health board we very quickly focused on implementing the most effective ways of working as clinical radiologists. As a clinical body, we identified that we needed to make changes to how we worked.
“Prior to COVID-19, most of the team were based onsite at one of our three acute hospitals. We needed to change this and introduce home working for the majority. To enable this, we would need to utilise Fujifilm’s home reporting solution, available to only a small number of the team prior to the pandemic. Since the workstations have been deployed, most radiologists within our health board are now set up to work from home, meaning we can support our clinical colleagues by delivering a hot reporting chest x-ray service 7 days a week.”
Photo credits L to R:
Anthony Street – Project Engineer, Fujifilm
Mark Robinson – Service Engineer, Fujifilm
John Lewis – Service Engineer, Fujifilm
Rob Edge – Service Engineer, Fujifilm
Clive Adcock – Desktop Engineer, Fujifilm