PACS Resulting in Improved Access to Diagnostic Reports Across Newfoundland and Labrador



    ST. JOHN'S, Dec. 11 /CNW Telbec/ - Newfoundland and Labrador has achieved
the goal of having more than 95 per cent of diagnostic images available
digitally throughout the province to authorized health care providers, making
it the second province in Canada to implement such a province-wide system.
    "The use of digital imaging will improve the quality of care for the
people of Newfoundland and Labrador, especially for those living in rural
areas," said the Honourable Ross Wiseman, Minister of Health and Community
Services. "Having this system up and running means that people living in a
rural area such as St. Anthony can now have their diagnostic image taken at
the local hospital and read by a clinician in any PACS site in the province."
    In February 2006, the Provincial Government announced the development of
a province-wide Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS) by 2007.
The $23-million project was funded through a Provincial Government investment
of $12.4 million and a $10.6 million investment by Canada Health Infoway
(Infoway).
    PACS is an information system that allows diagnostic images such as
X-rays, MRI, ultrasounds and CT scans to be captured, transmitted and stored
digitally, and made available to clinicians regardless of where they are
located or where the test was conducted. Traditionally, diagnostic images have
been transferred, reviewed and analyzed in hard copy using film.
    PACS will allow for immediate retrieval of images by clinicians, shorter
turnaround times on radiology reports, improved access to diagnostic imaging
services, and improved access to specialists through improved image
portability. It will also reduce costs without having to process, handle and
store film.
    The project expanded diagnostic imaging to all regional health
authorities and created a provincial archive for images and reports for
X-rays, MRIs, Ultrasounds and CT scans. The Centre for Health Information
managed the development and implementation of the project on behalf of the
province and the regional health authorities.
    "The PACS project implemented the first clinical information system that
will be part of the Newfoundland and Labrador Electronic Health Record," said
Bill Fanning, chair of the Board of Directors for the Centre for Health
Information. "The fact that we were able to complete this project on time and
on budget is due to the significant involvement and support of the
radiologists, the regional health authorities, and our funders, Canada Health
Infoway and the Department of Health and Community Services."
    "Achieving such widespread use of electronic digital imaging throughout
Newfoundland and Labrador is an incredible achievement benefiting clinicians
and especially their patients," said Richard Alvarez, president and CEO of
Canada Health Infoway, the federally-funded, independent not-for-profit
organization which invests with public sector partners to accelerate
electronic health records across Canada. "Today's announcement means patients
from remote areas can benefit from the advice of specialists located far away
without the usual delays geography create. This is about increasing access,
uncovering efficiencies, and improving access to quality care - regardless of
where patients live."

    Infoway is leading the development and implementation of electronic
health projects across Canada. Infoway works with provinces and territories to
invest in electronic health projects, which support safer, more efficient
healthcare delivery. Fully respecting patient confidentiality, these private
and secure systems provide health care professionals with immediate access to
complete and accurate patient information, enabling better decisions about
diagnosis and treatment. The result is a sustainable health care system
offering improved quality, accessibility, productivity and cost savings.

    The Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Health Information was
established by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to provide quality
information to health professionals, the public, and health system
decision-makers. Through collaboration with the health system, the centre
supports the development of data and technical standards and maintains key
health databases, prepares and distributes health reports, and supports and
carries out applied health research and evaluations. The centre's mandate also
includes development of the Newfoundland and Labrador Electronic Health
Record.

    NOTE: Minister Wiseman will join Dr. Benvon Cramer, Radiologist with
Eastern Health to host a demonstration of PACS for the media today at
10:30 a.m. in the X-Ray Department Reception Area of the Health Sciences
Centre.

    Backgrounder

    Film-less Sites for X-ray, MRIs, CT scans and Ultrasounds

    
    Eastern Health

    - Bonavista Peninsula Health Centre, Bonavista
    - Burin Peninsula Health Centre, Burin
    - Carbonear General Hospital, Carbonear
    - Dr. G.B. Cross Memorial Hospital, Clarenville
    - Janeway Children's Health and Rehabilitation Centre, St. John's
    - St. Clare's Mercy Hospital, St. John's
    - The General Hospital, Health Sciences Centre, St. John's
    - The Waterford Hospital, St. John's

    Central Health

    - Baie Verte Peninsula Health Centre, Baie Verte
    - Bay D'Espoir Medical Clinic, Bay D'Espoir
    - Brookfield Bonnews Health Care Centre, Brookfield
    - Central Newfoundland Regional Health Centre, Grand Falls-Windsor
    - Connaigre Peninsula Community Health Centre, Harbour Breton
    - Fogo Island Health Centre, Fogo
    - Green Bay Community Health Centre, Springdale
    - James Paton Memorial Hospital, Gander
    - Notre Dame Bay Memorial Health Centre, Twillingate
    - Dr. Hugh Twomey Health Care Centre
    - Lewisporte Health Centre, Lewisporte

    Western Health

    - Bonne Bay Health Centre, Norris Point
    - Calder Health Centre, Burgeo
    - Deer Lake Clinic, Deer Lake
    - Dr. Charles LeGrow Health Centre, Port aux Basques
    - Rufus Guinchard Health Centre, Port Saunders
    - Sir Thomas Roddick Hospital, Stephenville
    - Western Memorial Regional Hospital, Corner Brook

    Labrador-Grenfell Health

    - Captain William Jackman Memorial Hospital, Labrador City
    - Charles S. Curtis Memorial Hospital, St. Anthony
    - Labrador Health Centre, Happy Valley-Goose Bay
    - White Bay Central Health Center (Site scheduled to be film-less by
      2008)
    




For further information:

For further information: Media: Glenda Power, Director of
Communications, Department of Health and Community Services, (709) 729-1377,
685-1741, glendapower@gov.nl.ca; Dan Strasbourg, Director, Corporate
Communications, Canada Health Infoway, (416) 595-3424,
dstrasbourg@infoway-inforoute.ca; Karyn Murphy, Communications Manager,
Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Health Information, (709) 752-6110,
karynm@nlchi.nl.ca


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