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Clinical Pathways and the role of the West Midlands Imaging Network

The Imaging Network has a role to play in supporting the development and improvement of clinical pathways. By bringing together specialists from across the 15 member Trusts, we can learn from each other, identify and drive best practice and improve the experience of patients going through the care of our organisations.

With the Network working towards the Quality Standard for Imaging Networks (QSIN) endorsement, our Pathway and Modality Special Interest Groups will look at producing Network-wide clinical guidelines. This will allow for the consistency of service to patients enabling patient movement across the region, and enables staff to work between different sites.

Pathways

The term pathway represents the expected journey of a patient through appointments and interactions with clinical professionals of many disciplines. It may be that not each patient will follow every step, but it will indicate the stages in the decision making for each patient.

Pathways are based on evidence-based knowledge and clinicians’ judgement of each patients clinical case against best practice guidelines. At various points in each pathway, a number of clinicians may combine their expertise to reach an agreement (clinical consensus) for the best recommended treatment and care options. For complex care such as cancer, this is often called a Multi-Disciplinary Team Meeting (MDT).

Where the pathway of care is short; for example with a broken bone, the patient may receive the treatment required without perceiving this is part of a pathway of care. For more complex treatments, the clinicians will involve the patient in discussions about the pathway options. 

Paediatric Imaging

In July 2023, we held the first meeting of the Paediatric Special Interest Group, chaired by Dr Ben Pinkey, Consultant Paediatric Radiologist & Clinical Director for Radiology for the Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust. The group has representation from across the Network’s organisations, and includes a range of clinicians such as radiographers, radiologists and clinical scientists.

The workplan will include mapping the specialist services across the region, exploring training and advanced practice opportunities, and sharing expertise with District General Hospitals.

Musculoskeletal Imaging

Musculoskeletal (MSK) imaging is used to look at joints, bones, muscles and associated tissues and nerves. Within the Network, we have two specialist NHS Trusts which receive patients from across England and Wales, as well as other tertiary centres specialising in spinal services. However, MSK imaging is undertaken in almost all imaging departments, with X-rays being the most common.

In November 2023, we will be hosting the inaugural meeting of our second pathway group. At this meeting we aim to bring experts in MSK imaging from across the region to:

  • Provide an introduction to the Network and the benefits of collaboration 
  • Ensure attendees have opportunities to network with new colleagues from across the region 
  • Discuss relevant issues, best practice, and potential projects


Modalities

Modality is a term used to refer to the type of imaging used. These include:

  • Computed Tomography (CT)
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Nuclear Medicine (NM)
  • Non-Obstetric Ultrasound (NOUS)
  • Interventional Radiology
  • Fluoroscopy
  • X-ray
  • Mammography
  • Bone Densitometry (DXA)
  • Hybrid Imaging such as PET-CT and SPECT

MRI Special Interest Group

Alongside our MSK SIG, our MRI Special Interest Group is due to be stood up in November 2023. Priorities for this group will be to look at implementing new national guidance on service provision and improved access for patients with pacemakers and other implants. These include:

MRI provision for cauda equina syndrome | The Royal College of Radiologists (rcr.ac.uk)

Joint British Society consensus recommendations for magnetic resonance imaging for patients with cardiac implantable electronic devices (bhrs.com) and Safety and MRI | British Cochlear Implant Group (bcig.org.uk)


Next Steps

As the groups become established there will be opportunities for staff across the Network to get involved in individual projects and task and finish groups led by the SIG members. If you are interested in hearing more about these groups and to get involved please contact us: dgft.wmimagingnetwork@nhs.net

In 2024, we hope to expand the number of groups running to include nuclear medicine and interventional radiology.

Last Updated: 15th Sept 2023

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