Interior Health invests $12 million in PACS
KELOWNA, B.C. – Picture this! A broken limb mending and
monitored miles from where it was set... a surgeon tracking the growth
of a tumour from diagnosis to surgery. Interior Health is in this
picture – spending $12 million to create a Picture Archiving and
Communications System (PACS).
Building upon the existing success of the imaging system in the Thompson
Cariboo, PACS allows physicians to access images of their patients from
virtually anywhere in Interior Health, and images are archived so that
they are quickly accessible for review and transfer to any site within
IH at any time of the day or night.
This significantly improves access to healthcare for patients in smaller
communities. It will be the first time in British Columbia that a
patient's images are directly linked into their Electronic Health
Here's how one doctor explains the benefits of these images for her
"PACS will mean that I can correlate a patient's tests done at other
facilities in IH with the ones done here," stated Dr. Sue Babensee, a
radiologist at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital in Trail, B.C.
"For example, if a patient breaks her arm at a baseball tournament in
Penticton, has x-rays and the arm set there, then returns to Trail, we
can do the follow-up x-ray and make a direct comparison with the x-ray
taken in Penticton. That x-ray will be immediately accessible on the IH
PACS system, so we don't have to wait for a copy of the x-ray to be sent
from Penticton. This increases the timeliness and quality of that
"Another major advantage will be in treating cancer patients," adds Dr.
Babensee. "Say I detect a brain tumor during a scan of a patient here.
When that patient goes to Kelowna for surgery or radiation therapy, at
the moment they must take the printed scan with them -- and that's often
not returned to us. When we do a scan three months later, we no longer
have the original to compare it with. With this new system, nothing will
need to be printed and the oncologist and neurosurgeon in Kelowna will
have the same access to all diagnostic tests done as the patient's home
Interior Health is proud to be working with a BC-based organization for
the PACS acquisition. "McKesson Medical Imaging Group is headquartered
in Richmond, B.C., and its Horizon Medical Imaging PACS solution was
developed there. We look forward to a "Made in B.C." partnership," said
Chris Mazurkewich, chief operating officer for Interior Health's
The Central Okanagan Regional Hospital District, the Kootenay East
Regional Hospital District, the West Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital
District, the North Okanagan Columbia Shuswap Regional Hospital District
and the Okanagan Similkameen Regional Hospital District are paying 40
percent of the $12 million cost of this project
The $12 million investment is one of a series of capital expenditures
within Interior Health made to improve patient care. More than $35
million has been invested in the last 2 years to purchase diagnostic
equipment, including 10 Ultrasounds, 2 CT Scanners, 16 X-Ray systems, 4
Gamma Cameras and 4 mobile C-arms.
Additionally, IH has invested over $7.5 million in ceiling lifts and
beds to improve both patient care and staff safety. $27 million is being
invested across the region to create 150 new mental health beds and $4
million for six Primary Health Care centres in Enderby, Kimberley,
Sparwood, Kaslo, Slocan and Kamloops.