Tameside Hospital worked with long-term partner, Canon Medical, to deliver a bespoke solution to the growing demand for diagnostic imaging in the region

With 2.5 million more people in England projected to be living with major illness by 2040[i], increasing diagnostic imaging capacity has never been more important for the 215 NHS Trusts across the UK. Playing a critical role in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions such as cancer, as well as many neurological and heart conditions, the demand for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) in particular is at an all-time high. However, currently the UK has far fewer MRI scanners than nearly any other comparable country[ii].

To address this increasing demand and help tackle the NHS waiting list, Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, collaborated with its partner of 20 years, Canon Medical Systems UK, to expand its in-house MRI capacity in a unique way. Utilising last-minute funding awarded to Greater Manchester from the NHS, the hospital leveraged its long-term relationship with Canon Medical to design and deliver a bespoke, purpose-built MRI suite that will serve as a permanent solution for the hospital.

The integrated modular unit, consisting of two modules to accommodate waiting and changing rooms, houses Canon Medical’s Vantage Orian MRI system, a second MRI scanner for the hospital. Replacing a separate external mobile unit situated in the car park, the new unit allows clinical staff to serve in-patients, as well as emergency and outpatients, within the main hospital – something that had previously not been possible.

Jennifer Riley, Cross-sectional (CT/MRI) Service Lead Radiographer at Tameside Hospital, commented, “This wasn’t just a case of procuring MRI equipment to meet increasing demand. Careful consideration needed to be given to where the new system would be housed to meet the needs of both our in-patients and outpatients. Working with Canon Medical, we needed a permanent solution to increase MRI capacity within a very tight timeframe to meet the requirements of our funding. Ensuring accessibility and a positive patient experience, both during and post-installation, was crucial. The new suite needed to feel like part of the existing site without changing the fabric of the building. During construction, we worked hard to ensure minimal disruption to patient services.”

Matthew Kilheeney, Radiology Manager at Tameside Hospital, continued, “We’ve always had a strong partnership and positive experience working with Canon Medical. The team is reliable, responsive, and quick to find a solution to any challenge, and their training, aftersales support and service is second-to-none. At the onset of the pandemic when demand peaked and Covid restrictions were in place, they also provided us with a mobile CT scanner to increase capacity and support social distancing. So, when faced with the challenge of building a whole new suite, we knew we could turn to Canon Medical to help execute the whole project. They helped us roll out an end-to-end solution in under nine months – from sourcing equipment to designing and building the unit to house the MRI system.”

Over many years, Canon Medical has provided the Trust with numerous diagnostic imaging solutions – including two Ultrasound (US) systems, an Ultimax-i Multi-Purpose Fluoroscopy room designed to enhance efficiency by opening up workflow space, and three Aquilion Prime SP  Computed Tomography (CT) scanners. The CT scanners feature Vitrea Advanced Visualization, a modular viewing platform that unifies workflows, enabling greater diagnostic productivity.

Matthew added, “Having a second permanent MRI scanner in-house has given us a 100% guaranteed capacity increase internally. Previously, if our internal MRI scanner had failed, scanning in-patients would have been impossible, so this has removed that single point of failure. As a hospital we need to meet a target of 98% up time across our diagnostic equipment, and thanks to the support from Canon Medical we continue to hit and even exceed that target.”

Increasing diagnostic capacity remains a key priority for the Trust, with plans already underway for the redesign and redevelopment of Tameside Hospital’s Emergency Department, which will include the addition of a third in-house CT scanner – the Canon Medical’s Aquilion Prime SP .

Royal Bournemouth Hospital in the UK was the first in Europe to receive the new Aquilion ONE / INSIGHT Edition CT scanner from Canon Medical Systems UK. Dr. Russell Bull, Consultant Radiologist and Lead CT at the Radiology Department of the Hospital explains how it has already brought about big changes.

The Royal Bournemouth Hospital is a general hospital in Bournemouth, Dorset, UK. It has approximately 600 inpatient beds and 123 day care beds. The hospital provides urgent and emergency care, medical care, surgery, critical care, end-of-life care, outpatient and diagnostic services. The Royal Bournemouth provides services for a population of around 550,000 local people – a number which rises during the summer months due to the attraction of the area as a destination for tourists. The hospital’s radiology department has collaborated with Canon Medical for many years. In addition to the new Aquilion ONE / INSIGHT Edition CT, the department has other Canon Medical CT scanners including an Aquilion ONE / GENESIS Edition and an Aquilion Serve SP.

Dr. Russell Bull was appointed as a consultant Radiologist at Bournemouth, UK, in 2000, initially working as a general cross-sectional radiologist and started a cardiac CT service at Bournemouth in 2004 using a Canon Aquilion 16. For the last 13 years he has worked almost exclusively as a cardiothoracic Radiologist with his time split between cardiac CT and MRI.

According to Dr. Bull, who is responsible for training a large team, The Aquilion ONE / INSIGHT Edition has already delivered many benefits to the 24-strong team of Radiologists and 30 Radiographers.

Dr. Bull commented, “It’s been very easy to train the radiographers on the Aquilion ONE / INSIGHT Edition due to the new efficient INSTINX workflow solution. It guides the Radiographers through the process logically and intuitively.”

Improved resolution

With the Aquilion ONE / INSIGHT Edition’s advanced Deep Learning Reconstruction (DLR), the hospital has benefited from enhanced image quality. Dr. Bull commented, “Generally, the Deep Learning Reconstruction has been very well accepted by our radiologists. The Aquilion ONE / INSIGHT Edition utilises two types of DLR, one of them is Advanced intelligent Clear-IQ Engine (AiCE), which we tend to use in the body, and Precise IQ Engine (PIQE), which we tend to use for the coronary arteries at the moment but is also available for body examinations.”

PIQE is a Deep Learning Reconstruction algorithm that maximises the inherent resolution of a CT to provide Super Resolution 1024 matrix images. PIQE images show sharper anatomical detail for better delineation of small anatomical structures for a more definitive diagnosis.

“The benefit of PIQE 1024 is that it gives us much higher spatial resolution without increasing radiation dose. As it improves spatial resolution, we can image coronary arteries with calcification and stents and we can reduce blooming artefacts. We’ve only had it five weeks, but we are much more confident in our diagnosis because the resolution is much higher,” Dr. Bull added.

High quality at very low dose

Dr. Bull and his team also use the SilverBeam Filter for high-quality images at very low dose. SilverBeam is a filter for Aquilion CT that incorporates silver to selectively optimise the beam energy. It removes low-energy photons from the beam spectrum, which do not contribute to image quality, but do increase dose and scatter. When combined with Canon Medical’s Advanced intelligent Clear IQ Engine (AiCE) technology, this beam-shaping energy filter can harness the power of AI to deliver high image quality and low noise for dedicated applications.

Dr. Bull commented, “We are not just going for low dose – we aim for high image quality at low dose. We are able to do that with SilverBeam. We don’t just use it for lung cancer screening, we use it for standard chest imaging. We also use it for bone imaging because we get much fewer artefacts and the dose is so much lower. If it’s a spine or if we are looking for a hip fracture, we will use SilverBeam.”

Better contrast enhancement

Dr. Bull and his team use 70kVp when they want better contrast enhancement. He commented, “We use 70-kVp to do delayed imaging of the heart to see if there is a blood clot in the left atrial appendage. We use 70-kVp because you get much better contrast enhancement. We also use it when we want to use a very small amount of contrast with patients who have poor kidney function. We have specific CTA protocols, like CTPA, set up in our scanner for these patients.

Smooth transition to new technology

Installing and integrating the new system at the hospital has been seamless, and with the support of Canon Medical, the department has been able to adopt the new technology.  Dr Bull concluded, “We had great support both from Canon Medical Systems UK, Canon Medical Systems Europe and Canon Medical Systems Corporation (Japan). All of these people supporting us has made a huge difference. It really helped us because the new technology is quite different. I think we are still learning, but we learned much faster because of the excellent support.”

Royal Bournemouth Video

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