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Althea installs ‘first of its kind’ Cone Beam CT Scanner at University Hospitals of Leicester

The world’s newest head & neck cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) scanner, featuring patented Metal Artefact Reduction, a 120kV generator and the very latest advances in radiographer assistance, has been installed at Leicester Royal Infirmary (LRI).

Installation of the Carestream CS 9600 CBCT at LRI was facilitated by their long-term vendor-independent managed service provider Althea, working in partnership with Hulbert Dental ICT – UK sector specialist for Carestream Dental.

LRI is the first UK hospital to introduce the technology after being chosen as the only site worldwide, to undertake clinical verification of this new CBCT platform, specifically targeted around medical sector requirements.

As an important evolution on established dental CBCT systems, the CS 9600 allows clinicians to scan more than just teeth or MaxFacs regions, adding approval for Cervical Spine and Scaphoid imaging. Output images are automatically transferred to PACS along with user-defined recons, all in DiCOM format. The CS 9600 can also perform straightforward 2D OrthoPanTomograms and it even remembers the individual patient demographics, further improving workflow for follow-up imaging.

The CS 9600 Cone Beam CT scanner has similar geometry and footprint to an OPT machine, maximising the use of increasingly limited real-estate. For many images the radiation dose to the patient is a fraction of that of a multi-slice CT scanner and it is quicker to use, reducing the patient visit from as much as 15 minutes, to around 5 minutes in total.

LRI was chosen specifically to put the machine through its paces in performing large volume CT scans of the Sinuses, Temporal bones and Skull Base. The scanner’s minimum voxel size of 75 microns gives these examinations superb image resolution. The new scanner will be used in the diagnosis and planning of Oral and ENT surgery, as well as the re-direction of a sizable proportion of its Sinus and Temporal Bone imaging from a busy conventional CT service, resulting in a Cost Improvement Plan with significant savings over the financial year.

Colin Ross, Radiology Site Manager, said “Before the CS9600, we were using the CS9300. We really liked the CS9300, but the CS9600 has many advantages over it. The CS9600 is very easy to use with patient positioning being particularly intuitive. The CS9600 also has a maximum KvP of 120 rather than 90 and offers significantly larger Fields Of View.”

Service Medical Lead Dr Ram Vaidhyanth, said “The high-resolution mode combined with small field of view is ideal for temporal bone imaging. Metal artefact reduction algorithm is very useful in both dental and sinus imaging.”

Tony Hulbert, Director at HULBERT Dental ICT, commented on the experience: “It has been a great pleasure to work with the team at LRI throughout the validation process, with much credit due to the radiographers and radiologists in Balmoral Xray. It is thanks to their positive and valuable feedback, that we take the CS 9600 forward with great confidence in what could well be a tipping-point in the application of CBCT technology.”

Althea is the world’s largest, vendor-independent managed service and maintenance provider for the acute healthcare sector. The company delivers a Managed Equipment Service (MES) to UK and Ireland hospitals such as the University Hospitals of Leicester update and improve their technology whilst managing the day-to-day concerns of running a department. This includes maintenance and breakdowns and on-going replacements throughout the term of the contract.

David Rolfe, UK&I Chief Executive Officer, added “We spend a huge amount of time with clinicians at LGH to understand how their department works, what their clinicians require, the procedures they undertake and what all of this means for the future. Being entirely vendor-independent ensures Althea is not tied to any one manufacturer and can offer hospitals the most efficient solution for their clinical needs.”

STUDY EVENING TO BE HELD:
University Hospitals of Leicester will be holding a free study evening on Wednesday 10th April from 4 to 7pm. Topics include advances in Cone Beam CT, improvements in image quality and diagnosis, and tips for writing the business case for procurement of a Cone Beam CT. For a place, please email: colin.ross@uhl-tr.nhs.uk

Pictured left to right: Mike Sinkala (Reporting Radiographer), Denise Gill (Superintendant Radiographer), Colin Ross (Site Manager LRI), Dr Ram Vaidhyanath (Consultant Radiologists), Francesca Evans (Chief Technologist, Althea) & Tony Hulbert (Hulbert Dental ICT)

Althea and Samsung Collaborate to Benefit X-ray Services in Leicester

Althea has delivered state-of-the-art imaging systems to Leicester General Hospital (LGH), through their long-term vendor-independent managed service.

The managed service includes a guaranteed planned capital replacement programme, which covers all of the hospitals plain X-ray rooms.

As part of this agreement, Althea has now installed the 2nd of the Samsung GC85 DR imaging systems on time and on budget. All equipment installations are planned, and project managed by Althea’s Implementation & Technology experts. LGH chose the new Samsung GC85 after reviewing Althea’s summary of all available systems on the market.

The GC85 is a world beating, fully automated, digital suite designed to reduce physical stress on users, increase patient throughput and to deliver superb quality images.

The new equipment features Samsung’s intuitive 3 step workflow which takes the user easily through worklist, acquisition and review. LGH will be able to share their lightweight detectors across all the departments Samsung equipment, adding greater flexibility and reducing costs. The pioneering detectors offer a high DQE, so low dose, but still maintain the ability to deliver the highest quality images.

Andy Mear, Plain Film Superintendent, says “The installation of our second Samsung room went very smoothly and we have seen huge benefits to our patients from the transition to DR which was superbly supported by Althea and the MIS applications team. This room significantly benefits the staff due to the reduced physical effort required to operate the equipment.“​​

Improving patient experience at Peterborough City Hospital

Following the recent expansion of the Peterborough City Hospital’s Radiotherapy department, Althea and Medirest, another one of the Trust’s providers, have sponsored one of two ‘hotboards’ which were installed free of charge in the department corridor. What was previously a very clinical white space which patients walk down prior to receiving treatment has now been transformed by artwork from three local primary schools the Trust have engaged with on this project – Nene Valley Primary School, Woodston Primary School and Orton Wistow Primary Schools.

The department expansion which was facilitated by North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust’s 35 year Althea managed equipment service added an additional linear accelerator which is used to treat cancer patients and will enable more patients to be treated locally rather than travelling over an hour from Peterborough.

New managed service contract with Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Althea is pleased to announce a partnership with Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, in which it will provide diagnostic imaging and radiotherapy equipment.

The 10-year managed service contract, which has an optional 10-year extension, will include the robust management and high-quality maintenance of four linear accelerators and more than 160 Radiology assets through the single point-of-contact Service Centre, the provision of a clinical consumables management service, and a significant asset replacement programme which will see 18 new systems delivered by the end of the year.

Two fully-equipped mammography trailers have already been delivered to the Royal Derby Hospital, and several other state-of-the art clinical systems will be handed over before the end of the year. These include eight ultrasounds, a linear accelerator and associated oncology management and treatment planning systems, six x-ray systems and a gamma camera. All have been selected on a vendor-independent basis.

Derby Teaching Hospitals works to an ethos of ‘Taking Pride in Caring’, and aims to be a beacon for all that is best in 21st century healthcare. Althea firmly believes this contract supports that vision.

Kevin Downs, Director of Finance and Performance for the Trust, said, “We are delighted that the managed equipment service has now gone live and that staff and patients are benefitting from the investment in new technology – an investment made possible due to the financial savings achieved through a long-term partnership with the UK’s leading vendor-independent MES provider.”

Jason Long, Althea’s Business Development Director, commented, “We are delighted to have Derby as our latest managed equipment service customer. We share the Trust’s vision of taking pride in the service we deliver and epitomising quality.  Our service is an industry-leading solution that will support Derby deliver a safe, high-performing and efficient patient service.”

5 years of Peterborough City Hospital

Peterborough City Hospital, part of Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, celebrated its 5-year anniversary this month, with a fun-filled, family-friendly open day held for the public on Saturday 21st November.  More than 600 people attended the event where staff gave their time for free to showcase each department’s success to members of the public.

The day allowed visitors to enter parts of the hospital which are usually prohibited, giving them a ‘behind the scenes’ look into how different parts of the hospital operate.  A number of activities took place throughout the day, including a giant game of Operation, lessons in taking blood, and children were encouraged to bring their teddies to the teddy bear clinic where they could have them x-rayed by the diagnostic imaging team.  Funded by Althea, cakes, stickers and booklets were also given out to guests.

We are proud to have sponsored the hospital’s celebrations having worked with the hospital since before it opened in November 2010.  Althea inputted into the design of all Radiology rooms, and ensured there was a smooth transfer and relocation of assets from Peterborough District Hospital.  Althea continues to deliver a managed equipment service replacing multiple pieces of diagnostic imaging, radiotherapy and biomed equipment on pre-agreed lifecycles, delivering all planned preventative and reactive maintenance, as well as managing the on-site biomed team – all examples of the flexibility of our managed services.

Althea obtains wholesale dealer’s licence for the supply of contrast media

Althea, the leading vendor independent provider of medical equipment services, is now licenced to purchase contrast media associated with imaging equipment, having been awarded a Wholesale Dealer’s Licence (WL35578) from the Medicine Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Contrast media is a regulated and strictly controlled consumable used in diagnostic imaging and the award follows six months of background investigations, planning and external training in Good Distribution Practice by the MHRA.  A host of new controlled documents have been implemented across Asteral in line with the existing Quality Management System ISO9000:2008, with new procedures and processes established to ensure the effective monitoring of contrast media from factory to client.

“We are really pleased to be able to offer contrast media as part of our healthcare service provision.  Not only is it further proof that we are a responsible business capable of managing the most complex of consumables, but it also demonstrates our hard work and commitment to meet the needs of healthcare today.  This license provides us with yet another vehicle to reduce costs for the NHS and we are looking forward to continuing our work with Trusts to meet both quality and financial targets going forwards”.