Amsterdam, the Netherlands and Orlando, Florida, USA – Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA), a global leader in health technology, and NHS National Services Scotland, a non-departmental public body that provides advice and services to National Health Service (NHS) Scotland, today revealed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Scottish Breast Screening Program (SBSP), and the measures taken to deal with the backlog of delayed appointments. Philips' vendor-neutral Vue PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication System) allows the SBSP's six breast screening centers and its mobile screening units to interoperate with Scotland's national PACS system, increasing access to breast screening for Scotland's rural communities, enhancing patient choice, and streamlining diagnostic and treatment workflows.
Female breast cancer is the world's most common form of cancer, with approximately 2.26 million new cases in 2020 . Nearly 1,000 women per year die from the disease in Scotland alone . Through the partnership between Philips and NHS National Services Scotland, as many as 270,000 women in Scotland between the ages of 50 and 70 are invited for breast screening (mammography) every year . However, according to Public Health Scotland (PHS), between April 2020 and December 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a 19% fall in the number of women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer (down 35% at stage 1 and 15% at stage 2 diagnosis) . This drop was largely attributed to the SBSP being paused between March 30 and August 3, 2020, creating a backlog of appointments, diagnoses, and treatments.
Philips Picture Archiving and Communication System (Vue PACS) is a scalable and modular image management solution that provides hospitals and related institutions with scalable (local and wide area) PACS functionalities. The interoperability of Philips' Vue PACS has been a key factor in reducing that backlog, offering enhanced connectivity between the screening program's regional screening centers, as well as interoperability with Scotland's Global PACS system.
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"The national reporting function enabled by the Global PACS solution allows centers to report and support each other. For instance, in the case of a staffing issue due to absences from sickness amongst readers, cases for reporting can rapidly pile up. The use of this function allows readers from across Scotland to provide mutual aid and assistance in ensuring all centers are at a similar level in reporting," said Dr. Gerald Lip, Clinical Director of NE Scotland Breast Screening Service.