box10.gif (1299 bytes)







Diagnostic imaging

Nova Scotia expands provincial PACS capabilities

HALIFAX -- Agfa HealthCare, a leader in digital and analog medical imaging solutions, has announced that the Nova Scotia Department of Health (NSDoH) is planning, with Canada Health Infoway, to undertake an expansion of the provincial Agfa PACS archive. This expansion will ultimately allow all 41 provincial hospital sites to store all digital x-ray exams on the provincial archive.

In addition to the archive upgrade and expansion of existing PACS sites, new Agfa IMPAX systems will be implemented at smaller community hospitals located in each District Health Authority. Exams captured at a hospital will be stored in at least two locations: the regional hospital cache and the provincial archive.

“The Nova Scotia Provincial PACS Network and archive initiative has a mandate to enable the exchange of diagnostic images between hospitals and to facilitate access by physicians. Our ability to consult with provincial colleagues and others across Atlantic Canada allows clinicians to provide more efficient and timely patient care – clinicians are impressed with this new exciting capability,” said Dieter Pagani, head of IT, Nova Scotia Department of Health. “Our goal is to have a PACS network that will link every hospital in the province. Using Agfa and EMC, we can do that, and have the flexibility to grow and expand at a rapid pace in the future.”

“By the end of this expansion, the goal for the NSDoH is to have every hospital in the network sending every exam to the archive, so the other participating hospitals can have access,” said Michael Green, VP of Agfa HealthCare for Canada. “As such, if the patient moves within the province, the images will be more readily available, a real benefit to patient care.”

Hospitals in the province will also have the ability to query the provincial archive to receive pre-fetched studies from it for comparison purposes. This gives radiologists, and other users, the ability to easily and efficiently compare new studies against previous studies, regardless of originating site.

The ease of access to a patient’s images will result in less duplication of unnecessary exams and doctors will be able to retrieve the images in a matter of seconds instead of days or even weeks, as is the case with film. This will result in the treatment of the patient being much more efficient, and less costly.

The expansion project itself is the result of combined efforts of NSDoH, the provincial District Health Authorities (DHA), Agfa HealthCare, the provincial PACS provider and EMC Corp., an information storage and management company, whose EMC Centera content addressed storage (CAS) systems provide NSDoH with seamless, affordable access to archived images and patient records.

Also involved is Canada Health Infoway, which co-invests with provinces and territories in regional healthcare technology initiatives to help achieve an Electronic Health Record available to authorized healthcare professionals across Canada.

The expansion of the provincial archive is a major step forward in the NSDoH's long-term goal of providing a provincial Electronic Health Record (EHR) for its population. “Diagnostic Imaging solutions are a key component of the Electronic Health Record. Making images easily accessible will help speed turnaround time and result in better patient care” said Richard Alvarez, Canada Health Infoway’s president and Chief Executive Officer.