Scotland issues £1.5m tender for radiology IT connectivity solution

radiology
“The expectation is that implementing an IT connectivity solution which integrate fully with the PACS and/or RIS systems will allow image reporting on every site,” it is explained in the tender notice

NHS National Services Scotland issues £1.5m tender for a radiology IT connectivity solution

[Edinburgh, Scotland] NHS National Services Scotland (NSS) have issued a £1.5m tender for a radiology IT connectivity solution, required to underpin the National Model for Radiology.

The notice reveals NHS NSS was tasked with the implementation of the model on a regional and national basis at the end of the summer last year, with the IT connectivity solution set to offer the ability to ‘request and report upon images across’ hospitals in Scotland and then return to the ‘originating host’ NHS Board radiology information system (RIS).

“This may be achieved by a new software platform, or by maximising functionality of existing software solutions.

“The expectation is that implementing an IT connectivity solution which integrate fully with the PACS and/or RIS systems will allow image reporting on every site which would feedback into the host Health Board RIS,” it is explained in the tender notice.

Three-year contract worth £1.5m

The value of the contract is estimated to reach £1.5m over a period of three years, subject to renewal, although bidders are asked to provide proof of minimum ‘yearly’ turnover of £100,000 for the last two years; the solution is expected to integrate with both the current Scottish PACS and the re-procured version which is set to start in two years, with a ‘re-procurement process underway’.

It will also be expected to provide a ‘unified information system’ that will allow staff to work on a ‘national basis’, with a ‘vetting justification system’ that should include ‘two way communication with the requesting clinician’.

“In the short term an extension of the current office based processes could be adapted to support cross boundary image acquisition pending full implementation (Hub and spoke cancer services are one of the main drivers for this requirement),” the tender explains; further requirements include building ‘upon all key security and Information Governance’ principles and a tool for creating ‘reporting worklists’.

The notice was dispatched at the end of March and the time limit for participation requests is May 24.

‘Radiology workforce crisis’

In February, the Royal College of Radiologists (RCR) stated Scotland was going through a ‘radiology workforce crisis’, with the country having only eight radiologists per 100,000 people, while more than £5m was used to outsource radiology services.

“Waiting times for an imaging report are increasing and there remain nearly a quarter of a million unreported imaging studies across the UK waiting longer than 30 days for a report,” wrote the RCR.

Although networking radiology services remains ‘entirely in keeping with RCR’s policy’, they believe this would not be a solution to the workforce crisis, adding that more than 90% of hospitals in Scotland cannot ‘fulfil their radiological workload’ every day.