Alliance Medical

Alliance Medical, the UK’s Leading Private Medical Imaging Providers, rely on IntelePACS® for consistency in an ever-changing environment.

About Alliance Medical

Established in 1989, Alliance Medical is Europe’s leading independent provider of medical imaging services. With operations in 17 European countries, the organization provides intelligent imaging services which focus on the convergence of skill, technology and information. In doing so, they help provide clinicians with vital knowledge to make accurate and speedy diagnoses.

With over 25 years’ experience working with the NHS and private sector hospitals in the UK, Alliance Medical currently employs 850 people across 50 centres and approximately 40 mobile scanners. In total, the organization provides over 120 medical imaging services to the NHS and independent sector, and provides services to 400,000 patients in the UK each year. In addition, the company operates a network of scanning centres which offer predominantly MRI scanning, but some sites also offer a range of other diagnostic modalities including CT, PET/CT, DEXA, X-ray and Ultrasound.

In January 2015, NHS England awarded a ten-year contract to a collaborative network (led by Alliance Medical) to deliver PET/CT scanning services to NHS patients at 30 locations across the country. The Collaborative Network consists of The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, local NHS, and charitable providers and a number of leading academic institutions.

With IntelePACS®, I’ve suddenly got control because I can instantly see what’s going on across my sites, and I can get rid of technology that is old, expensive and redundant.

Dr. Johann Alberts, Director of PET-CT Operations and Project and Project Director for the National PET-CT Contract

The Need for Flexibility

In addition to the vast amount of Alliance Medical sites across the UK, nearly half of them change location on a regular basis. This posed a challenge with their legacy PACS, which was geared towards a single-site hospital environment and had limited capabilities in regards to image distribution.

“Image distribution was our legacy PAC’s absolute achilles heel,” said Dr. Johann Alberts, Director of PET-CT Operations and Project Director for the National PET-CT Contract. “It didn’t cope with it at all, and for that reason we needed a new platform.”

In searching for a new system, it was also clear that flexibility would be a key focus in order to manage a diverse customer base. In serving patients from the NHS, private sector, charities and medico-legal cases, the requirements for image management are quite different from client to client. For instance, some customers require both scans and reports, while others only require scanning. Some customers want reporting to take place locally, while others utilize remote radiologists.

We had a very clear vision of what we wanted to achieve, which was very much driven by our customer base. At the same time, we wanted a system that would provide us some advantages within the marketplace that we felt our competitors didn’t have necessarily, such as remote reporting.

Dr. Johann Alberts, Director of PET-CT Operations and Project and Project Director for the National PET-CT Contract

Deploying IntelePACS Across a Nationwide Network

After evaluating a number of solutions, Alliance Medical selected IntelePACS® as its primary medical imaging system. Highly regarded for its robust, easy-to-use viewer and capabilities in distributed environments, the solution provides a consistent user experience regardless of location. This was beneficial given Alliance Medical’s distributed architecture, and would provide a competitive advantage through its remote reporting capabilities.

“I wasn’t looking for a system that needed lots of development,” said Dr. Alberts. “IntelePACS® is a system which, out of the box, worked for us, and only needed some tweaks to the configuration. This, along with the support we received, made the deployment itself pretty smooth.”

Providing Immediate Results

According to Dr. Alberts, within a month or two of deploying IntelePACS®, the solution’s benefits were clear. In addition to InteleViewer™’s rich functionality delighting radiologists, Alliance Medical immediately benefited from the system’s remote reporting capabilities.

“The fact that I can get a reporter to login from his home and still have the images and his worklist live has really made a huge difference,” said Dr. Alberts. “They are also reporting into the PACS, so the report is captured in the PACS and distributed back to their RIS electronically by HL7, as opposed to copying and pasting them from email into the right system. From a quality and risk management perspective, I think that had a huge impact from day one.”

Dr. Alberts notes that visibility and control around how images are distributed across the network has had a big impact, both in terms of quality and cost control.

In the past I had four PACS installations, all from different vendors and with varying issues and all of the knowledge to maintain the systems sitting with a select few individuals in our company. With IntelePACS®, I’ve suddenly got control because I can firmly see what’s going on across my sites and I can get rid of technology that is old, expensive and redundant.

Dr. David Miller, CMIO, SJRA

Improved Results Distribution

Through their IntelePACS® deployment, SJRA has also been able to improve the results distribution using Enterprise Viewer, Intelerad’s referring physician portal. Widely adopted among SJRA’s customer base, the solution provides physicians with single-point access to a branded portal where they can quickly access patient images and reports. The solution also features an iOS app, which alerts physicians when a study is available.

For SJRA, Enterprise Viewer is a key component to maintaining satisfaction amongst their referrer base. According to Dr. Miller, he’s seeing user adoption continuing to grow amongst his referrers. “Every day, we have new physicians and practices signing up to use Enterprise Viewer,” says Dr. Miller. “A few thousand have signed up to the system in the past year and are generally positive about the portal, happy to get the information they need quickly.”

Working Together to Continually Improve

Moving forward, SJRA plans to leverage Intelerad solutions to grow their study volume while maintaining the same sized staff. To increase efficiency further, the group is planning to deploy InteleOrchestrator™, which automatically distributes cases to the most appropriate radiologist. This is accomplished using pre-determined sets of real-time variables, such as a reader’s availability, subspecialty, workload, location and more. For SJRA, the module will be used for distributing cases to the subspecialist most appropriate to interpret the case most expeditiously, for balancing caseloads, and eliminating the time spent manually distributing cases.

When asked if IntelePACS® has met SJRA’s expectations, Dr. Miller’s response is a single word: “Definitely.” He is also positive about his ongoing relationship with Intelerad staff.

Our relationship with Intelerad feels like a partnership. Their staff is very professional and we feel well supported. They are very easy to talk to and be honest with, and they’re honest in return – there’s never any smoke and mirrors.

Dr. Johann Alberts, Director of PET-CT Operations and Project and Project Director for the National PET-CT Contract

Impacting Business Growth

IntelePACS® has also been a major influence in terms of business growth, having played a key role in obtaining the National PET/CT Contract.

“One of the core elements of our whole proposal in the tender process was around our technology platform,” said Dr. Alberts. “IntelePACS® provided some key differentiators which helped us secure the contract.”

These differentiators include:

  • Central visibility of all sites.
  • The ability to integrate with specialist packages.
  • The ability to get overflow work from one location and almost instantly, at the click of a button, send it to a different reporter at a completely different location.
  • A double-read workflow that allows our radiologists to double read studies which have been reported by another radiologist.
  • An integrated analytics module.
  • The potential to use the system to drive research.

A Strong Relationship is Key to Success

When undertaking a massive project, such as the National PET/CT Contract, it is important to have the vendor support you need to accomplish your goals. For Dr. Alberts, being able to rely on Intelerad has been reassuring.

“I think our relationship with Intelerad is very strong,” said Dr. Alberts. “The integrity and the transparency has been very refreshing, making the company a pleasure to work with.”