Western Sydney LHD, NSW Health

Sectra UniView: a new way of working for NSW Health

WSLHD partners with Sectra to rollout organization-wide universal viewer

Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) is a leader in clinical services, research, and education, and provides a wide range of public healthcare services to a population of over 1 million people in the state of New South Wales (NSW). The region has been using Sectra UniView since 2020, starting with an initial roll-out at Auburn and Westmead Hospitals – making NSW one of the top three users of UniView globally. Chief Medical Information Officer (CMIO) and Associate Professor Naren Gunja dives into the district’s experience with the transition.

Ensuring that the best patient information is available at the right time is crucial for referring physicians and radiologists. Sectra UniView—a zero-footprint web viewer—is our answer to this challenge. Designed with an intuitive user interface and powerful enterprise-wide search functionality, Sectra UniView allows users to view and interact with medical images at high-speed, whether it’s radiology images, non-DICOM images, videos, or whole slide pathology images. The universal viewer was first introduced to healthcare workers in WSLHD in 2020, who report that the ability to access patient images and data quickly and reliably from multiple locations has been invaluable. NSW is now rapidly ramping up the solution across the state, which has already grown to be one of the top three users of UniView worldwide.

For clinicians, Sectra UniView is a game-changer—a new way of working.

Naren Gunja, Chief Medical Information Officer, WSLHD

WSLHD is a leader in clinical services, research, and education—providing a wide range of public healthcare services to a population of over 1 million people. As one of the fastest-growing areas in New South Wales, the district has its fair share of challenges keeping up with the demand for medical imaging. Clinicians in WSLHD have long recognized the benefits of a universal web viewer, having asked for a solution back in 2016 for its 8,000 doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and allied health professionals. The request was successful and the NSW government chose the region as the first roll-out site for Sectra UniView, starting with Auburn Hospital and the new Westmead Hospital in mid 2020. Following great success across these two sites, Sectra UniView is now rolling out to multiple LHDs and is set to become the dominant image viewing solution for NSW Health.

Reliability and image quality

The move to Sectra UniView has been described as a game-changer by CMIO and Associate Professor Naren Gunja, giving clinicians significant improvements in performance, reliability, and image quality: “From a clinician’s perspective, there are clear performance and reliability improvements compared with what we had before.” He adds that Sectra UniView competes with dedicated PACS viewers for certain use cases, pointing at the solution’s ability to provide a full patient overview and its image quality performance: “The image quality is so good on Sectra UniView that we almost don’t need to install PACS viewers anymore. We had previously installed big screen high-resolution PCs everywhere, but with Sectra UniView, they are not necessary anymore —it can be used on tablets, smart phones and laptops.”

Functionality and efficiencies

In addition to the improved reliability and image quality, Associate Professor Gunja also recognises Sectra’s UniView increased functionality compared to their previous solution: “In terms of being able to annotate or manipulate images, Sectra UniView has much more functionality. Before, if we needed to annotate or rotate images, we needed to go to one of the PACS machines. As there was usually only one PACS machine on each ward, it was common to find people waiting in line to use it,” he said.

I don’t think we’ve had anything like this before.

Naren Gunja, Chief Medical Information Officer, WSLHD

UniView also helps fight the issues of having information trapped in isolated department silos. By breaking down the barriers to access patient information, practitioners can make faster and more accurate decisions for patients that need time-sensitive care. “I don’t think we’ve had anything like this before” said Associate Professor Gunja. “Sectra UniView links straight to our EMR, so images are directly accessible alongside the patient’s EMR chart”, he added.

Multi-platform functionality

Designed for cost-efficient deployment and easy scale-out, Sectra UniView does not require any local installation or end-user application training. It is built on a multi-platform format, prioritising an intuitive user interface and the capacity to work across devices—from desktops and latops to smartphones and tablets. WSLHD have found Sectra UniView to be particularly useful for on-call staff: “The ability to look at data and images while you’re on the move is amazing, particularly on mobile devices for our on-call doctors. You could be an orthopedic doctor, a plastics doctor, a neurologist; anybody who is on call and needs to see the images remotely.” Associate Professor Gunja explains: “We’ve never had this kind of flexibility with the ability to see everything—the entire domain’s worth of imaging. For clinicians, and especially for mobile clinicians, it is a game-changer—a new way of working.”

Close-up of a doctor showing a colleague or patient medical images on a tablet using Sectra UniView.


Security as a top priority

Like most healthcare organizations, WSLHD takes data security very seriously. Associate Professor Gunja said, “Our patients expect us, as custodians of their information, to store and access data appropriately. It’s important to us that we comply with that, especially as we move towards the future and further embrace new technological developments.” As part of the Sectra Enterprise Imaging solution, Sectra UniView complies with the same high standards for safety, security, and availability as the other modules included in the enterprise platform. No patient data is cached on clients, secure protocols ensure safe and secure information handling, and the solution supports authentication and authorization through federated login methods. In addition, Sectra UniView supports clinical access control with patient lock, block, and break glass functionality – giving clinicans at WSLHD peace of mind that patient information is accessed securely.

Looking forward

The successful roll-out of UniView has paved the way for a state-wide adoption across NSW, working to increase efficiency and minimise frustrations in the state. WSLHD’s vision is to expand UniView into other facets of medical imagery, including Point of Care Ultrasound (POCUS) and Point of Care X-rays. There is also scope to move into dental imaging and other kinds of imaging done by medical and radiation oncology units. Healthcare as we know it is rapidly changing, and new technology is key to ensuring the outcome for patients. Adding UniView to your healthcare system is an easy step you can take towards building a more comprehensive and flexible experience for the patient.

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