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Diagnostic imaging

HDIRS connects more hospitals to repository

MARKHAM, Ont. - In early January, Markham Stouffville Hospital became the sixth health facility connected to the Hospital Diagnostic Imaging Repository Services (HDIRS) data repository.

HDIRS is a partnership between 23 Ontario-based hospital corporations. The organization formed with the founding goal of creating a shared diagnostic imaging repository.

When all of HDIRS partners are connected to the diagnostic imaging repository, the system will enable 35 health facilities to share diagnostic images (such as X-rays and ultrasounds) and reports. HDIRS was formerly known as the Toronto East Network (TEN) system.

Said Lynne Campkin, Director, Diagnostic Imagining, Markham Stouffville Hospital: “It will definitely improve patient care and at the same time reduce costs. In the past we have had to share images through the mail or by patients transporting them.

“Tracking reports and images was costly and required a lot of administrative attention,” she added. “Now, images are in one place and only one place and they can be securely accessed any time. This is good for the patient; delays between appointments will be reduced and the ability for clinicians to consult will be improved.”

HDIRS, which is funded by Canada Health Infoway and the Ontario Ministry of Health, is managing the development, implementation and operation of a shared diagnostic imaging repository. By working together, the HDIRS partners are achieving economies of scale and shared service benefits that could not have been realized independently.

In December, Peterborough Regional Health Centre was also connected to the Hospital Diagnostic Imaging Repository Services (HDIRS) data repository.

“The HDIRS repository is the first step towards having an electronic health record,” commented Nancy Cafik, Director, Diagnostic Imaging, Peterborough Hospital. “In less than 24 months our hospital moved from using conventional film based X-rays to archiving digital images in a secure shared repository.

“We are looking forward to sharing images with the hospitals we refer to and that refer to us,” she said. “It will be a great benefit to review diagnostic images before moving patients. Potentially it may reduce the transfer of some patients. It will definitely speed up consultations between clinicians.”

Also in December, the Rouge Valley Health System was connected to the Hospital Diagnostic Imaging Repository Services (HDIRS) data repository.

Commenting on the work that led up to connecting Rouge Valley Health System with the shared DI-r, Jeffrey Hohenkerk, Director of Diagnostic Imaging and Laboratory Medicine, Rouge Valley Health System, commented, “It was seamless. The connection didn’t impact staff or our ability to provide care.”

Mr. Hohenkerk added, “The connection prepares us for sharing health information with other facilities. As a result of this sharing, redundant tests will be reduced, allowing some patients to avoid unnecessary exposure to radiation. Right now, through HDIRS, we are connecting to other public health facilities, but our vision is to eventually work closer with all healthcare sectors, including private clinics.