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Case Study – Hexarad

Formed in 2016, Hexarad is a clinically led radiology platform company. Founded by doctors, four out of the five directors are consultant radiologists, with the fifth director providing leadership in software development. With this powerful combination of medical expertise and innovative technology Hexarad provides a rapid and affordable service that places the patient at the heart of their offering.

The Hexarad Platform is an end-to-end solution designed to transform the way scans are reported; using the platform Hexarad provide subspecialty radiology reports for NHS Trusts in under 24 hours, improving patient flow and reducing delays in diagnosis. The Hexarad Platform also includes rapid peer review to ensure high quality reporting standards are maintained and that any discrepancies are identified quickly so as not to impact the patient.

Accreditation supporting innovation

In August 2021, Hexarad received their grant of accreditation from UKAS, confirming that these innovative practices supported by leading home-grown technology, are compliant with the Quality Standard for Imaging (QSI), as published by the Royal College of Radiologists and College of Radiographers.

Hexarad COO, Jaymin Patel, explained why, despite not being a mandatory accreditation, this step was so important for the company.

“As an organisation, we see the QSI as the pinnacle of quality assurance for radiology services in the UK. There is really nothing out there that gives you such an indelible rubber stamp of excellence. We wanted to prove to ourselves and our patients that we were able to provide that level of quality, so the accreditation process was worth the cost, time and effort, even though it is not mandatory.”

Providing patients of both NHS and private clinics fast access to peer-reviewed quality assurance, gives a high degree of accuracy in terms of scan results.  This means that anomalies can be detected quickly, allowing the application of appropriate remedial action, and improving the patient’s chances of relief and recovery.

Reducing the NHS backlog

Hexarad’s services are also being employed to relieve the burden on core NHS services that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There is a national backlog in sending scans to specialist radiologists for analysis. At Hexarad we only have subspecialist radiologists reporting subspecialist work, so clinics can use our network and the technology that supports it to address this backlog.”

When asked about the actual assessment for accreditation, Jaymin describes a pragmatic process.

“Fortunately, the UKAS Assessors were flexible and able to see that the process was designed for hospitals, and we are not a hospital but a remote service. The QSI talks a lot about the location or site, which is not meaningful to us because of our post-COVID set-up. Instead of making us do paperwork for the sake of paperwork, they took into account our individual circumstances, coming to a sensible, collaborative outcome.

Far from being a box-ticking exercise, the assessment process itself was useful instead of restrictive.  Both Ann Pinder and Indye-yah Prince from UKAS were helpful and supportive. The assessment also had the advantage of formalising some of our processes, making us more organised and efficient.

We are unusual in that we are run by clinicians rather than commercial people, so it was particularly pleasing to be assessed so favourably by experts that also assess our peers all over the country.

Technology for the benefit of patient care

Ultimately our patient’s safety and care is at the heart of everything that we do, and the technology we have designed allows us to provide them with a higher degree of quality assurance. For instance, we double report 10% of scans even more importantly, we ensure there is no significant time-lag between the initial report and the quality assurance process, which has huge clinical impact on the patient.

This QA process adds another layer of assurance, vastly reducing the chance of error, which, unfortunately, is not uncommon in typical radiology and we are delighted that this peer-review process is part of our recent accreditation.”

Hexarad achieved its grant of accreditation in eight months from initial application. Commenting on their achievement, UKAS Senior Assessment Manager, Ann Pinder stated:

“We have been delighted to work with Hexarad during their accreditation journey so far. They have been a fine example of a young company using the quality standard to ensure that they have a solid governance framework in place, and have embraced quality improvement with a positive attitude to ensure the best service for patients and staff alike. We have already undertaken Hexarad’s second assessment to maintain their UKAS accreditation and look forward to our continued relationship with them.”