Next Generation Ultrasound Reporting Workflow at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust

The Background

County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust* chose HNC to provide a new and enhanced integrated patient care workflow for women’s health ultrasound by implementing the next generation of the ViewPoint 6™ ultrasound reporting system. 

The end result means that all ultrasound findings, including images, charts, reports and measurements, are now electronically captured within the ViewPoint 6 system. 

Coupled with HNC’s Talk2 integration suite, these ultrasound findings are now electronically shared with the existing radiology information systems (HSS CRIS & PACS) creating a fully integrated patient care record for women’s health at the Trust.

The Problem

Since 2003 Durham had been operating a standalone ViewPoint 5.6 reporting system which had been implemented to cover reporting requirements for the local Foetal Medicine & Obstetrics departments. 

Whilst Durham had electronic reporting it had no ultrasound image capture nor archive facility. Darlington meanwhile had no electronic reporting capabilities; a consequence of which meant service improvement was hindered and this led to inequitable care when compared with Durham.

With no central electronic storage, captured images were printed on thermal paper and stored within patient notes. This creates multiple issues, as thermal paper cannot be relied upon as a long-term storage method, with images lasting no longer than five years. In obstetric care, records should be kept and stored for a minimum of 25 years. 

The previous workflow relied heavily on operator accuracy and availability of paper-based notes for previous scan information. This system was therefore at risk of error in data capture which could ultimately affect patient management and care.

The department recognised the need for a more appropriate centralised women’s health reporting workflow solution. 

In practice, this requirement was acutely apparent when an abnormality was suspected. Women from the south of the Trust had to travel to Durham for a foetal medicine consultation which then put pressure on the available appointment slots in the Foetal Medicine Department and in some cases appointments could not be provided within the acceptable time frame.

When timeframes were not able to be met it meant that women would have to then travel to a tertiary referral unit at Newcastle – a further 35 miles away.

Alongside the referrals not only carrying a travel cost implication for the women but a financial impact for the Trust as well. Due to Newcastle being part of another NHS Trust, the hospital would counter charge County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust for any scans that took place at Newcastle.

“Teams were extremely helpful from HNC – they worked with the Trust Project Team to overcome issues as the implementation was occurring and were actively involved in project team and board meetings.”

Technology/Solutions Used

The technology and solutions utilised during this project included:

A full RIS & PACS refresh process.

New imaging workflow.

ViewPoint 6 as the ultrasound specific reporting system.

An upgrade and further extension of the service provided across the Foetal Medicine & Obstetrics service for University Hospital of North Durham, Darlington Memorial Hospital, Bishop Auckland General Hospital and Shotley Bridge Hospital.

The new ViewPoint 6 system is integrated via the HNC Talk2 integration engine with the trust’s radiology HSS RIS & PACS systems to allow for an end to end electronic ultrasound information workflow.

The ViewPoint 6 server also uses the PACS system as a long-term image archive, lowering the total cost of ownership due to not having to support a long-term file store on the ViewPoint server.

The technologies used created a fully integrated Women’s Health Ultrasound Reporting Workflow for the whole Trust, the go-live was completed successfully in September 2016.

A New, Simplified Workflow


The key benefits that the County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust is now experiencing by using a fully HNC integrated ViewPoint 6 ultrasound reporting workflow can be summarised as follows:

Increased standardisation of ultrasound reporting with the inclusion of mandatory data items.

Improved examination times, due to automated transfer of the ultrasound measurement data.

Central secure storage of all ultrasound reporting data including images, measurements and reports.

Improved data reporting allowing for embedded ultrasound images and charts into the paper reports.

Improved availability of ultrasound reporting data with inclusion in the enterprise HSS RIS & PACS.

Lower cost of thermal printer paper with electronic archive and storage of ultrasound images.

Improved data quality allowing for better trend analytics and reporting of examination specifics.

What Our Clients Say About HNC

“Teams were extremely helpful from HNC – they worked with the Trust Project Team to overcome issues as the implementation was occurring and were actively involved in project team and board meetings.”

“System changes were acted on swiftly and teams were supported to ensure that the system was fit for purpose.” 

“Training was of high quality and HNC were flexible and worked around the availability of the clinicians.”