Leeds Teaching Hospitals deploys imaging tech as part of NHS digital pathology network

The move is part of a multi-million pound initiative that is digitising and applying AI to NHS pathology services in the North of England.
By Sara Mageit
09:08 AM
Sectra, Leeds Teaching Hospitals, Digital Pathology

Leeds Teaching Hospitals becomes the first in a collaboration of NHS trusts to go live with the Sectra picture archiving and communication system, allowing pathology images to be interrogated by professionals electronically from various devices.

The programme is part of a £17 million partnership between the NHS and academia and funded by UK Research and Innovation and industry partners to connect pathology services across the region using technology.

Trusts to follow Leeds will include Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS FT, Harrogate and District NHS FT, Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS FT, The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS trust, and Airedale NHS FT.

WHY IT MATTERS

Many pathology departments across the country are still reliant on microscopes and glass slides. The new system is allowing pathologists to work more efficiently, while gaining access to opinions from colleagues and manage rising demand.

This move will lead to the full digitisation of NHS laboratories covering a population of three million people. It will allow hospitals to pool resources, balance workload, and enable access to specialists across the region whose expertise may be quickly needed to make a clinical diagnosis. 

THE LARGER CONTEXT

In September, Leeds was amongst three NHS hospitals across the UK to receive a funding boost for AI to speed up the diagnosis of diseases.

ON THE RECORD

Dr Darren Treanor, NPIC’s director, and a practising pathologist at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS trust, said: “Leeds is the first of our six sites to go fully digital. Collectively, we are modernising our pathology services to become amongst the most advanced and interconnected anywhere in the world, and we hope to share our experience to help others across the NHS and beyond.  

“The days of using glass slides and paper notes to determine and communicate a patient’s diagnosis are numbered. As we move to digital ways of working we can improve quality and create a more structured digital workflow.”

Jane Rendall, UK managing director for Sectra, one of the NPIC industry partners, said: “Digital pathology is about far more than replacing microscopes with computers. It’s about fundamentally changing how pathology services can be configured across regions and across the country, so that patients can receive faster diagnoses, services can become more intelligent, and the NHS can make best use of its valuable pathologists. NPIC is at the forefront of this transformation.”

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Top Story

Digital Transformation

Top row - left to right: Dr Don Rucker, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), HHS Office of the Secretary, US, Tim Kelsey, SVP - Analytics, HIMSS, Australia and Dr Ahmed Balkhair, Saudi Arabia’s Digital Transformation Advisor, Ministry of Health. 

Bottom row: Dr Anne Snowdon, Director of Clinical Research - Analytics, HIMSS, Canada.