Patient Informatics

2. Setting up and connecting temporary imaging facilities for COVID-19 imaging

Countries around the world have seen the creation of temporary hospital and ‘overspill’ imaging facilities. These are typically located in conference centres, leisure facilities, stadium, gyms or public halls - “external sites”. However they may also be within hospital grounds (in marquees, tents or in containers etc.) – “internal sites”.

For both internal and external sites, the main considerations for imaging informatics are the availability of trained staff, networking, connectivity to utilities and access control / security.

For internal sites or those external sites close to regular healthcare institutions if there is a local hospital with I.T. infrastructure having capacity (networking, servers, switches) available then it is by far the best option to join into their infrastructure and simply adopt their already established procedures and governance.

For external sites not close to existing healthcare infrastructure, a choice would need to be made between self-sufficiency (effectively procuring and then setting up and commissioning a full hospitals services, albeit temporarily) or ‘shuttle-running’ (borrowing resources such as radiographic acquisition equipment, workstations from an established hospital and feeding data back on, for example, a daily basis by the exchange of portable hard drives etc.). The first option obviously has advantages, but is far more costly and requires multiple suppliers and parties to work at speed to set up.

In either case, the actual approach taken will be determined by the imaging modalities and volumes expected. There will be a need for local protocols and standard operating procedures to be designed particularly to take into consideration any new I.T. deployments and also the need to maintain the infection control of the equipment, from keyboards to screens and other contact points.