The move to a more modern way of working for the Department of Health and Social Care has taken another step forward with the upcoming launch of a new, digital system for pathology and radiology services.
The new system, which forms part of the Isle of Man Government’s wider Digital Strategy, will cover both the ordering of tests and the delivery of the results back to the appropriate healthcare professionals.
Implementation of the scheme is set to start this month with a pilot project, and a full roll-out of the new system will follow this.
Once in full operation, relevant specialists within both Noble’s Hospital and Ramsey and District Cottage Hospital will be able to electronically request pathology tests such as blood tests as well as the full range of radiology tests, such as x-rays.
Tests are ordered using specially adapted computers and mobile devices, all linked to a central database. Results are then issued electronically, once again removing the need for thousands of sheets of paper all of which must be printed, reviewed, sorted and filed. Approximately 750,000 pages of diagnostic reports were generated at Noble’s Hospital last year.
Switching to a digital system means the process will be streamlined and more cost-effective, whilst also improving patient safety, with a reduction in potential misunderstandings, repeat tests or misfiled results.
At the moment the Island’s GPs can request pathology tests using this digital system, and this will be extended to radiology as well, allowing doctors to request pathology and radiology tests – separately or together – in a completely paper-free environment before a patient has even been to hospital.
And a further addition to the service will allow GPs to add hospital-ordered test results on to a patient’s GP record, ensuring the best continuity of care. Only the appropriately authorised clinicians can view any selected patient’s digital data.
Speaking at the launch of the pilot programme, Dr Venkitasamy Balakrishnan, Consultant Physician at Noble’s Hospital and a key member of the development team, said:
“This is a an important advance for our whole approach to delivering first class healthcare in a digital world - and a vital step forward in patient safety. I know it will give us a significant improvement in the speed and agility of our pathology and radiology services.”
Richard Wild, Executive Director of Government Technology Services, commented:
“I am particularly pleased to see this key part of the overall Digital Strategy go live. This is a technically challenging project, bringing together so many interlinked systems and applications, so it’s great to know that it will make such a difference to patients and those who treat them. It is further proof of the importance the strategy has for so many people across the Isle of Man.”