Skip to main content

Sectra Systems

Sectra Systems provide hospitals across the country with a portal for the transfer of medical images and reports. Here they explain how HSCN will allow them to provide a faster, safer, better quality service for clinicians.


Sectra Systems provide hospitals with an Image Exchange Portal (IEP) as a network for the transfer of medical images and reports between care providers. This service is used by almost every hospital in the UK, providing access to the Picture Archiving Communication System (PACS).

The system enables patient radiology, pathology and other clinical specialism’s images and associated data to be shared across the country, providing authorised clinicians access to the IEP to view current and historic imaging and information about their patients.

System providers and users faced some limitations when transferring images using the existing N3 infrastructure, which could mean poor access to the IEP, poor delivery of care and poor user experience. With ever increasing clinical data traffic and the resultant increased demand on network infrastructure, the transition to HSCN - a modern, faster, more reliable network - created an ideal opportunity for Sectra Systems to address these issues.

"Over the 10 years IEP has been operational the volume of images exchanged has risen by 367%, with over 6 million images now processed every day."

Lee Armes
Technical and UK Cloud Operations Manager, Sectra Systems

The vision

Sectra have approached HSCN and the opportunities presented by the enhanced network capabilities it provides by developing a positive and forward-thinking vision. Their aim is to achieve better patient outcomes by increasing the quality and speed of imaging transportation across health care settings.

The migration to HSCN infrastructure will make an increase in bandwidth possible, with an associated reduction in latency and lag. Clinicians will be provided with faster access to patients’ electronic images. Sectra’s aspiration is to improve the quality of service on the current image exchange service by taking full advantage of the scalability HSCN offers.

Sectra are working to ensure services provided to the NHS are fit for purpose, both now and in the future. They want to ensure that the software they offer today can be adapted for new and upcoming technological developments, and continue to be relied on and provided through, HSCN and other suitable access platforms in the future.

"IEP originated in radiology but as the network has developed other imaging disciplines, such as cardiology, have been brought on board and the user base has expanded to include secure access for third parties and patients."

Lee Armes
Technical and UK Cloud Operations Manager, Sectra Systems

How HSCN will benefit Sectra

  1. Increase in bandwidth - the bandwidth available through the current N3 circuit, installed in 2009, struggles to meet increased demand. A 50% increase in circuit bandwidth is planned to meet business needs. 
  2. Cost savings - Sectra have reported substantial savings on their HSCN connectivity costs when compared to current N3 billing.
  3. Information sharing - Sectra are an industry leader in providing centralised imaging services and information sharing between health providers. They use both a web portal and health systems to enable different organisations to instantly share images. Sectra’s IEP system is multi-vendor compliant, enabling PACS suppliers such as Agfa, Carestream and other trusted vendors to move images between trusts across the United Kingdom. This allows clinicians instant access to these images, enabling better care outcomes for patients. 
  4. Clinical safety - The transfer time of imaging contributes to improved clinical safety during peak and critical periods. It also helps to manage patient emergency cases, such as "blue light instances" effectively. At present, images are being delayed in traffic amongst thousands of images or caught up in a bulk transfer. The increased bandwidth enabled by HSCN connectivity allows the platform to significantly improve this traffic flow.

"All of this means that the volume of data sent across the network is set to increase even further. The move to HSCN will allow us access to bandwidth far better suited to facilitate current demand across the NHS and also allows us to explore new hosting opportunities, including clinical disciplines like pathology which will have far greater image sizes."

Lee Armes
Technical and UK Cloud Operations Manager, Sectra Systems

Last edited: 22 February 2019 2:38 pm