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Research to test speeding up scanning times

The Yorkshire & Humber Academic Health Science Network is supporting a new research project at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust to evaluate whether technology can be used to speed up how quickly patients can have certain scans.

Patients having a scan – such as Computerised Tomography (CT) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) – need a dye introduced in the bloodstream to improve the visibility of internal organs and structures.

Before the dye is injected for the scans, patients need a blood test to ensure their kidney function is normal and they are not at risk of acute kidney injury. Patients need to wait for the results of this test, which can be up to a week, before they can have their scan.

The new research is looking at whether the blood test can be undertaken in the radiology department with immediate results available by using a new technology.

Carl Greatrex, Head of Innovation Adoption at Yorkshire & Humber AHSN, said: “We were able to identify three companies – Abbott, Nova Biomedical and Radiometer – who were happy to provide the point of care testing kits and we have also funded part of the programme.

“This research could make a real difference to patient pathways. The Mid Yorkshire team has seen the potential that could be delivered and they are really committed to driving this important work forward.”

Trust Consultant Radiographer Bev Snaith is leading the research alongside Martine Harris from the radiography department. This is the first time a researcher within the Trust has acted as the Chief Investigator on this type of study.

mid-yorks-teamBev said: “We are looking at the potential of using point of care testing to undertake the blood test in radiology. In principle, these technologies could provide an immediate result however, as yet, their clinical implementation has not been formally evaluated and the potential impact of their application is unknown.

“We are evaluating whether the new technology is as accurate as the standard laboratory machines. To do this we are recruiting 300 out-patients who need a kidney function blood test to give an additional blood sample for testing on the new technology.

“The timing of this project is crucial and will support further evaluation within radiology to establish acceptability, the impact on patient pathways and costs. This research could have a significant impact on radiology services across the UK and support staff to deliver efficient and safe services.”

The study being carried out at Mid Yorks is part of the National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network (NIHR CRN) portfolio of studies. This consists of high-quality clinical research studies that are eligible for consideration for support from the Clinical Research Network in England.

Clinical Directors Professor Simon Howell and Dr Alison Layton, of the Yorkshire and Humber Clinical Research Network, confirmed: “We are delighted to support new Chief Investigators delivering research within Yorkshire and Humber and enable research into novel technologies that could impact on improved and timely patient care. This study represents an exemplar of collaborative working between different stakeholders with clear benefit to patients at the heart of the research question.”

The research is being undertaken in collaboration with pathology staff from the Trust, the Leeds NIHR Diagnostic Evidence Cooperative (DEC) and the University of Leeds.