Consultant Dr Frank McGrath , Radiologist lead for NIMIS implementation. Radiology staff in Beaumont Hospital recently delivered on two million medical imaging requests for diagnostic tests such as X-rays, MRI and Ultrasound scans at the hospital.
The National Integrated Medical Imaging System has transformed patient care
Radiology staff in Beaumont Hospital recently marked a significant milestone by delivering on two million medical imaging requests for diagnostic tests such as X-rays, MRI and Ultrasound scans at the hospital. The HSE’s National Integrated Medical Imaging System (NIMIS), which was introduced in 2011, allows medical staff to electronically view their patient’s imaging records, including CT Scans and examination reports, quickly and easily.
Radiology staff utilise NIMIS to provide an imaging service across three sites, St Luke’s Radiation Oncology Unit, St Joseph’s Hospital in Raheny and Beaumont itself. The Beaumont Vascular Imaging and Cardiac Investigations Department also utilise the NIMIS solution to provide imaging services to their patients. It allows the secure and rapid viewing of patient image record data across hospital sites and throughout the health service in Ireland where NIMIS is utilised. The system was introduced in Beaumont in August 2011 and recently staff delivered on their two millionth request for diagnostic exams.
Val Caffrey, Chief Operations Officer at Beaumont Hospital says: “Since establishing the programme in Beaumont Hospital in 2011 NIMIS has transformed how we provide patient care. The two million imaging requests which the NIMIS team have now completed are two million patient tests that the team have carried out. As a result these patients have received more efficient and effective medical care. As a team we are determined to keep innovating and improving the care we offer patients and systems like NIMIS will allow us to do this.”
Val Caffrey COO, Keith Morrissey, HSE, Dr Frank McGrath & Sean McArt Radiography service manager
Faster clinical decisions
NIMIS enables health professionals to collaborate, seamlessly and securely sharing patient imaging data electronically, thus allowing for faster and more accurate clinical decisions. For example Beaumont Neurosurgery service have the ability to review CT scans performed across NIMIS sites as soon as they have been performed to determine if a patient would be a suitable candidate for transfer to Beaumont for surgery/care or their care can be managed in their local hospitals more appropriately. The rapid access and availability of patient’s imaging records to health professionals was a significant step for patient safety when it was introduced in 2011.
Radiologist Lead for the NIMIS implementation in 2011 and consultant Frank McGrath said:
“Following the successful roll out of NIMIS by the HSE liaising with a very dedicated local team of trained super users in Beaumont hospital in 2011, a new horizon of digital imaging and archiving came to pass. Beaumont hospital radiology was the first large teaching hospital installation, which based on very successful implementation was rapidly expanded nationally over the following years. NIMIS has revolutionised the ordering, vetting, and management of diagnostic imaging in a digital format throughout the country. The ability to view imaging in different locations simultaneously has led to a marked improvement in the healthcare provided for our patients. The speed of diagnosis, the rapid distribution and availability of the imaging and the facility to compare with prior studies either done locally in Beaumont, or elsewhere using NIMIS has expedited patient diagnosis and management.
Radiology are very proud of this achievement in Beaumont hospital, the result of a very hard working team effort of highly motivated management and radiography personnel in conjunction with the HSE / NIMIS implementation team, putting in many hours of preparation work to allow us to have a very successful and smooth ‘Go Live.’ It is easy to forget how things were in the days of analogue imaging where there was only one copy of the imaging, which in a large facility like Beaumont was extremely hard to reliably control due to the central role that imaging now has in patient care in tandem with the requirement to have the images discussed at several different locations by different subspecialties in the wards, outpatients or at MDT’s. This presented huge challenges to a very manual labour-intensive system in the past. NIMIS has put this issue to bed in no uncertain manner. Two million studies is an enormous volume of work and all retrievable at the push of a button.’’
Sarah Moore, clinical specialist radiographer, Keith Morrissey HSE, Dr Frank McGrath, Sean McArt Radiography Service Manager & Val Caffrey COO
For stroke patient Rachel Corbally from Co Kildare the transfer of images taken in Naas Hospital and transferred in real time to Beaumont made a big difference to her full recovery after she had a stroke in January 2018. Rachel’s son called an ambulance when he realised she was having a stroke. She says she was very lucky he recognised what was happening to his mother and reacted very quickly. She was taken by ambulance to Naas Hospital. Images of a clot on her brain were taken in Naas and transferred in real time to Beaumont’s National Thrombectomy Service. This meant Professor John Thornton Consultant Neuro Radiologist was waiting to treat her and remove the clot on her arrival in Beaumont.
Rachel explains: ‘‘I really think the way the way the images were transferred so quickly played a big part. I went into Naas on Monday after having the stroke, I was treated in Beaumont a few hours later and I was discharged from Naas on the Friday. I was back swimming two weeks after my stroke and I started a new job very soon after. They definitely gave me back my life.’’ Rachel credits the rapid transfer of images and the excellent teamwork between Naas Hospital and Beaumont as having saved her life and allowed her to regain full mobility so quickly.
Radiography Services Manager in Beaumont Hospital Sean McArt said: ‘‘This is definitely an occasion worth celebrating. The efficient operation of the NIMIS system is very dependent on the hard work of radiographers and the radiology departments across the health service. There are many areas where NIMIS has made a big difference to patients including stroke treatment, neurosurgery or organ transplant.’’
Beaumont’s Business manager in the Radiology directorate, Audrey Fitzgerald said:
‘‘The introduction of the NIMIS system in August 2011 brought significant and unrecognisable transformation across the hospital. It assisted the department in moving away from a historical film and paper based system to a modern IT solution that enables better governance and quality and ultimately reduces risks.”
Audrey continued: “More importantly, it has delivered great benefits to patient care enabling all required staff to view images/results almost instantaneously to allow key decisions on patient care occur. It has led to expedited turnaround times for reporting of radiology diagnostics, and has delivered a more efficient, effective, and robust service for our users.’’
Keith Morrissey, HSE NIMIS Programme Lead who works closely with Beaumont Hospital said: “NIMIS has proved to be transformational in the delivery of the Radiology and Imaging services in general across Ireland and particularly in Beaumont Hospital. We are seeing improved workflows and enhanced patient care. Nationally in terms of the NIMIS programme our current focus is on completion the Implementation of NIMIS in Temple St Children’s University Hospital. NIMIS is currently live in 68 hospitals and imaging centres.’’
Sarah Moore, clinical specialist radiographer, Keith Morrissey HSE & Sean McArt, Radiography service manager