Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, the largest single site district general hospital in London, UK, has contracted SynApps Solutions to migrate medical images to a vendor-neutral archive (VNA).

Currently, Kingston Hospital’s medical image archive library is hosted in a BT data centre.

The hosting contract is expected to end in July 2015, following the end of the NHS’s National Programme for IT (NPfIT) arrangements.

The staged repatriation of 19Tb of patient radiology images from the BT data centre will see the content held in an interim in-house PACS from Sectra, then replicated to a SynApps/EMC VNA as part of the trust’s broader electronic patient records (EPR) plans.

The interim PACS platform provided by Sectra will act as a working store for the medical image content until the trust’s longer-term PACS strategy has been finalised.

Work will be underway by January 2014 as the transfer of 19Tb content over the secure N3 NHS network will take a long time at a migration rate of 2Tb a month.

The SynApps/EMC VNA platform caters to a broad range of content types and introduces sophisticated indexing and search and retrieval facilities.

The trust’s information management and technology deputy director Norman Harling said that 2015 is not only the deadline for leaving BT, but also for replacing the PACS contract, so the trust needed a decent safety margin to ensure it had all of its images back in time.

"We’ve been sending images to BT since 2006, with volumes of around 250,000 radiology investigations a year, so this is not a small job," Harling added.

"We’ve been sending images to BT since 2006, with volumes of around 250,000 radiology investigations a year, so this is not a small job."

"Once we have extracted the content from the existing PACS and moved contract, we will release a lot of cost – upwards of £250,000 a year."

It is hoped that the repatriation will be complete six months ahead of schedule, thereby allowing early access to these savings.

Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust already works closely with other healthcare providers including St George’s Hospital in Tooting and The Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton, sharing radiology content.

The cross-document sharing-based VNA is being used to store PACS images from ophthalmology, cardiology and endoscopy, but there are plans to bring these content stores into the VNA to open up access.

SynApps recently announced a strategic partnership with Sectra, which will see the two companies collaborate on specialist content migration projects for NHS trusts.

Kingston Hospital NHS Trust provides a full range of diagnostic and treatment services to approximately 320,000 people locally.