Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust Engages SynApps to Migrate Medical Images to Vendor-Neutral Archive

The staged repatriation of 19Tb of patient radiology images from a BT data centre will see the content held in an interim in-house PACS from Sectra, then replicated to a SynApps/EMC VNA as part of the Trust’s broader EPR plans

Maidenhead, UK – November 27th, 2013 – SynApps Solutions, the content management solutions company, has won a major medical image migration contract with Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. SynApps will repatriate 19Tb of radiology content to the Trust’s premises, where it will be held in an interim Picture Archiving and Communications System before being replicated to a SynApps/EMC vendor-neutral content archive.

Currently, Kingston Hospital’s medical image archive library is hosted in a BT data centre. Following the end of the NHS’s National Programme for IT (NPfIT) arrangements, this hosting contract will end in July 2015. SynApps, which will drive the project, is working in partnership with PACS specialist Sectra to repatriate the off-site medical image library. Work will be underway by January 2014. Transferring 19Tb of content over the secure N3 NHS network will take a long time; the plan is a migration rate of 2Tb a month.

“2015 is not only our deadline for leaving BT, but also for replacing the PACS contract, so we needed a decent safety margin to ensure we had all our images back in time,” explains Norman Harling, Deputy Director of Information Management & Technology at the Trust. “We’ve been sending images to BT since 2006, with volumes of around 250,000 radiology investigations a year, so this is not a small job.

“Once we have extracted the content from the existing PACS and moved contract, we will release a lot of cost – upwards of £250,000 a year,” he adds. It is hoped that the repatriation will be complete six months ahead of schedule, allowing early access to these savings.

The interim PACS platform provided by Sectra will act as a working store for the medical image content until the Trust’s longer-term PACS strategy has been finalised. In the meantime the Trust will replicate the medical image content to a SynApps vendor-neutral archive (VNA) platform. This will allow the content to be managed more intelligently and incorporated within the Trust’s wider plans for electronic patient records (EPR). (The SynApps/EMC VNA platform caters for a broad range of content types and introduces sophisticated indexing and search and retrieval facilities.)

“We see the SynApps VNA as a building block in our strategy for EPR,” Mr Harling explains. “What we don’t want to do is just keep growing our medical image store indefinitely.” A more joined-up content strategy will bring additional benefits, he notes.

“At the moment, specialities such as ophthalmology, cardiology and endoscopy each have their own discrete databases. In parallel to the PACS archive project we are exploring how we can bring these content stores into the VNA to open up access.”

Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust already works closely with other healthcare providers including St George’s Hospital in Tooting and The Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton, sharing radiology content. “Our plan is to harness EMC/SynApps’ cross-document sharing capabilities to create fuller patient records that can be readily accessed by different specialities,  and other acute and community services,” Mr Harling says.

Of the choice of SynApps, he comments, “SynApps has a strong reputation for migrating data and combining it using a vendor-neutral platform. They were also willing to do an initial trail of the migration, which gave us confidence in the outcome. I’ve been very impressed with their technical knowledge, their understanding of our needs and their willingness to work flexibly. This includes managing the relationship with Sectra.”

SynApps recently announced a strategic partnership with Sectra, which will see the two companies collaborate on specialist content migration projects for NHS Trusts.

About SynApps Solutions

SynApps is an independent services and solutions company specialising in Enterprise Content Management (ECM) technologies. In the healthcare sector, SynApps in conjunction with EMC, is a pioneer in advanced vendor-neutral archives. These have the potential to transform the way NHS Trusts share medical image files with other healthcare providers and to accelerate their progress towards single digital patient records. Find out more at or follow us on Twitter @SynAppsSol