A new patient pathway at Victoria Infirmary, Northwich, has seen 2,000 outpatient, follow-up or high-risk query CT scans delivered in nine months through its community diagnostic centre (CDC).
Through a project with Canon Medical Systems, a modular CT building was created in five months, to act as a ‘one-stop-shop’ for diagnostics. The hospital, part of Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, introduced Canon’s CT scanning facility which is supported by artificial intelligence technology to “deliver sharp, clear and distinct images at speed”.
It means that the hospital has seen more patients for CT scans and other tests, supporting the trust to tackle wait lists and pressures on other acute hospital scanner sites.
Commenting on the project, Karen Bowman, general manager at Victoria Infirmary, said that the creation of the CDC has meant that “more people have been seen sooner than would have been previously possible – we’re even calling people to arrange CT scans on the same day they have seen their GP. The dedicated CDC also means that the pressure burden on our acute hospital scanners at Leighton Hospital has been relieved.
“That’s thousands of CT appointments removed from our front-line acute scanners giving them the dedicated focus they need for emergency or advanced imaging such as cardiac and CT colonoscopy. We’re now seeing happy, grateful patients and this has had a direct impact on our radiology team, increasing morale with reduced pressure.”
On the success of the community diagnostic centre model, Karen added: “The future aim of outpatient diagnostics is making more tests available and closer to patients. The community diagnostic centre model has proven itself here and given us confidence. As we start to plan our new hospital, we will look to focus on provision for acutely unwell patients and those with higher-risk, elective care needs and move more diagnostics and non-hospital reliant services closer to our patients’ homes. The success of the community diagnostic centre so far has also enabled us to start conversations about enhancing other care pathways via a ‘one-stop-shop’ approach such as our cancer services.”
Commenting on the supporting tech, Michael Potts, CDC imaging lead at VIN, said: “Canon Medical worked closely with us on the modular building and kept construction noise and disturbance on a hospital site to a minimum. The Aquilion Prime SP CT scanner will be our fourth Canon Medical scanner at the trust and it keeps meeting our expectations. It brings the renowned Advanced Intelligent Clear-IQ Engine for phenomenal image quality at low dose and high speed, plus provides additional advanced applications that help with clinical procedures. This includes Single Energy Metal Artifact Reduction (SEMAR) to work around visualising elderly patients with prostheses, stents, pacemakers or tooth replacements; and SURESubtraction to enhance iodine imaging with colour mapping.”