Somerset NHS Foundation Trust Improves Echo Reporting Accuracy with Integrated Cardiology Platform


Discover why Somerset NHS Foundation Trust selected Change Healthcare Cardiology Echo™ to enable seamless data sharing and reduce the time required for clinicians to review and complete reports.

Somerset NHS Foundation Trust (FT) has selected Change Healthcare Cardiology Echo to help facilitate seamless data sharing and reduce the time required to review and complete reports. 

Musgrove Park Hospital is part of Somerset FT and provides acute health services for approximately 340,000 residents in and around Taunton, England, as well as specialist services for the surrounding area. The hospital includes inpatient, outpatient, emergency, and children’s and maternity services, along with 16 operating theatres and an intensive care unit. Its cardiology department offers a full range of diagnostics and invasive procedures, including echocardiography services, device implant, angiography, and primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).

For years, the NHS trust used Change Healthcare Cardiology™ as its picture archiving and communication system (PACS). Leadership was eager to update its technology, as Musgrove Park Hospital was still on an older version of the system and needed a server upgrade. Faced with an upcoming upgrade to Microsoft Windows 10, the NHS trust recognised an opportunity to transition from an historic, non-cardiac-specific reporting system to a modern, integrated cardiology platform that provides complete imaging and reporting support.  

The NHS trust’s leadership issued an invitation to tender, requesting a unified viewing and reporting system that featured self-populating measurements and supported post-processing image review and manipulation.  

After careful review, the NHS trust chose to upgrade its existing Change Healthcare Cardiology system and implement Change Healthcare Cardiology Echo, which provides complete support for managing transthoracic (TTE), transoesophageal (TOE), and stress echocardiograms. “From the IT side, the decision came down to the speed of the upgrade and the minimal data migration and server alterations needed,” said Richard Clements, cardiac physiologist at Somerset FT.

As the procurement period progressed, the NHS trust increased its ambitions. “We realised that we could make more out of the system than we initially thought by linking it to our electronic patient-record systems so we could push reports there automatically,” said Richard. “And we could push the reports back to our booking system provider as well.”

Due to the need to coordinate third-party integrations, the team decided to stagger the upgrades, moving first from Change Healthcare Cardiology 12.2 to version 14.2. The new system includes active directory authentication to improve security, and it enables the trust to use its own workstations, generating significant savings. The NHS trust also upgraded its servers, speeding image transfer.

Although training was mostly remote due to COVID-19, two Change Healthcare engineers assisted with the transition on-site. “They really helped iron out the teething problems,” said Richard. “Having them present meant that clinical disruption was really kept to a minimum.”

After implementing Change Healthcare Cardiology Echo, NHS trust leadership noted improvements to its echocardiography workflow and overall productivity. Measurements automatically import from Echo modalities and discrete data and waveforms from stress ECG modalities. Measurements with values that fall outside of the norm are highlighted on the screen and automatically generate report sentences based on standard guidelines.

Previously, the NHS trust’s imaging and reporting were completed in two separate systems, which meant switching screens throughout the process. “It’s been nice to have the screen and the report system supporting each other,” said Richard. “The self-populating measurements and the system’s drop-downs have also saved a good five minutes of the report time. It’s quite intuitive as a reporting system.”

Currently, the NHS trust manually uploads reports to the patient record and completes the appoin™ent on the worklist provider. The NHS trust will soon implement an interfaced worklist which will automatically send final reports to their corresponding patient records, enabling an end-to-end automated workflow for the cardiology depar™ent. “Automating that process will help save time and improve data governance,” said Richard. 

New Integration Supports Efficient Offline Image Analysis 

Somerset FT will also be the first NHS trust in the United Kingdom to utilise Change Healthcare’s new EchoPAC plug-in feature, which integrates Change Healthcare Cardiology Echo with GE Healthcare’s EchoPAC™ post-processing analysis software.

The interface is intended for clinicians using EchoPAC for offline viewing and analysis. Ultrasound images are acquired from GE Vivid™ systems and from third-party ultrasound machines. The EchoPACplug-in is launched directly from the Change Healthcare Cardiology Echo worklist, giving cart-to-offline continuity in the chosen method of advanced analysis.

“The Change Healthcare Echo Reporting module is clinically focussed to provide an intuitive workflow for clinicians to support a one-stop reporting process and faster report turnaround,” explained Maureen Gardner, clinical product lead for cardiology at Change Healthcare. “Users can now post-process and analyse using the already familiar GE Advanced Analysis, accessed within the Change Healthcare Cardiology Echo report.”  

The integration will provide Somerset FT’s clinicians with a seamless Echo reporting workflow, as they can complete all image review, analysis, and reporting within integrated applications on the same workstation.  

“We’re excited to get the EchoPAC plug-in up and running,” said Richard. “We can supplement the measurements we can’t do in the Change Healthcare reporting system with additional tools, which will be useful.”

The NHS trust is eager to link additional modalities—such as Intravascular Ultrasound—and departments to the Change Healthcare Cardiology archive, enabling cross-disciplinary image sharing and review. The site currently shares information with the tertiary centre electronically and hopes to take up an electronic sharing solution with other UK NHS trusts in the future.   

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