Carestream DRX Wireless Flexibility Leads to Patient Benefits at Freeman Hospital

Freeman Hospital is part of the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, one of the largest teaching hospital Trusts in the country employing over 13,000 members of staff across multiple sites. The Radiology Directorate within Newcastle carries out around 340,000 examinations a year, with modalities including MRI, CT, Ultrasound, Fluoroscopy and Interventional Radiology (including Cath labs) together with CR and DR imaging. 

The Freeman Hospital is a tertiary referral centre for supra regional, regional and sub-regional specialities including Cardiac, Lung, Liver, Kidney and Pancreatic transplantation, Cardiothoracic, Vascular, Renal, Urology, Musculoskeletal (including bone tumour) and ENT.

Graeme Hughes is Senior Superintendent Radiographer and Manager for Radiology on the Freeman Hospital site. He explained the background to their x-ray equipment upgrade programme. ‘We replaced two thirteen year old analogue X-ray rooms, which were supported by a six year old CR system, with two Carestream DRX Evolution rooms capable of full leg/full spine imaging. We also installed a Carestream DRX1 retro fit device to an eight year old analogue X-ray room, also supported by CR, in order to reap the productivity benefits of DR. This eight year old CR room is located within a very busy Musculoskeletal Out Patients department where X-ray demand had outstripped CR capacity in eight out of ten sessions each week. This led to constant overspill of patients to the Main X-ray department, some distance away’. 

‘We also invested in a Carestream DRX 1retrofit system for one of our mobile x-ray units, as we were keen to invest in DR technology to realise a more efficient, point of care mobile x-ray service,’ Graeme added.

Graeme’s expectations of the new equipment were straightforward: ‘we wanted a simple to use, flexible DR system which offered a robust image stitching solution, and our expectations have been realised 100%,’ he said. ‘We were very impressed by the wireless flexibility of the DRX-1 detector and the intuitive touch screen user interface. The image stitching application was quick, reliable and consistent and the automated tube and bucky movement linked to a RIS worklist was an attractive addition.’

The benefits to both patients and the Freeman Radiology team have been significant, enabling the department to reduce patient waiting times and increase capacity. ‘With DR, patients are spending less time in the small MSK X-ray waiting area, freeing up valuable seating space for subsequent patients. This is improving the efficiencies of the MSK OP clinics and as such has a direct benefit to our patients. Image processing delays are now virtually eradicated as images can be QA assessed within ten seconds of exposure and there are noted radiation dose savings to patients due to efficiencies of direct digital technology. The new Carestream DR technology also provides increased clinical image quality.’

The Radiology team at Freeman Hospital have found that the DRX-1 retrofit Carestream device, offers a more cost effective solution to realising the productivity benefits of DR technology, while the mobile Carestream DRX-1 creates a more responsive and efficient mobile X-ray service, with images being rapidly available at the ‘point of care’. Because of an overall reduction in physical movement and manual handling Radiographers have also found that they feel less physically tired at the end of the day.

How does Graeme Hughes sum up his relationship with Carestream? ‘They’ve been an excellent company to deal with, from their knowledgeable and friendly sales team to the reliability and responsiveness of their service department and its engineering staff. As a company Carestream clearly see the benefit in investing in R&D which is why I feel that they remain at the forefront of wireless DR technology.’ 


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