Neuro imaging repository wins ITAC
TORONTO – A system allowing Ontario
hospitals to quickly and easily share neurosurgical scan images was
given an IT Hero Award by the Information Technology Association of
Canada (ITAC). The ninth annual awards were presented at the ITAC
Chairs’ dinner in June.
GE Healthcare IT won the Corporate IT Hero Award for its deployment of
an Emergency Neuro Image Transfer System, which allows neurosurgeons and
CT technologists to communicate and consult remotely between hospitals
throughout Ontario, reducing the need for unnecessary hospital transfers
and providing patients with added peace of mind.
Winners were determined by a panel of judges who assessed the nominees
and their projects for innovation and creativity, as well as initiative
and leadership, positive and measurable impact on Canadians, and
effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability.
“I am always amazed by the excellent quality of the nominations. We are
now into our ninth year of the IT Hero Awards, and the great stories
just keep on coming,” said Bernard Courtois, ITAC President. “These
awards continually demonstrate Canada’s great pedigree in developing
technology unselfishly designed for the benefit of others. Hats off to
the winners, they fully deserve the recognition and are a credit to us
Corporate IT Hero Award – winner profile
Without a provincial image exchange system to support tele-consult,
diagnosis and emergency medical transfer decisions, it is estimated that
35-50 percent of transfers are unnecessary. The impact of this lack of
technology can be measured in undue stress to many patients as well as
millions of dollars in time and transfer costs. Furthermore, this
shortcoming particularly affects rural areas that tend not to have
timely access to neurosurgical specialists.
Working together with eHealth Ontario and London Health Sciences Center
(LHSC), GE Healthcare IT embraced the challenge of building the
Emergency Neuro Image Transfer System (ENITS), which allows the transfer
and storage of neuro-treatment head-scan images from facilities
throughout Ontario to a central site from which experts can access the
images, determine treatment options and provide consultation at once for
patients across the province.
ENITS is built using GE’s high-availability Centricity Enterprise
Archive (EA), which allows for web-based distribution of images to
collaborating hospitals and enables neurosurgeons to access stored
images over the internet from any remote location.
By leveraging data centre infrastructure already established in the LHSC
in South-Western Ontario, GE is set to complete the 12-month delivery of
an Ontario-wide system, connecting 175 CT scanners in 130 hospitals
across the province. The technology will provide nearly 70 neurosurgeons
and approximately 200 CT technicians with the ability to communicate and
consult remotely throughout Ontario.
The first phase was rolled out in December 2008 and connected nine sites
across Ontario. The remaining sites are on schedule to be connected.
This initial rollout was an immediate success, with 40 percent of all
neurosurgical referrals being processed through ENITS to date.
Of those referrals, approximately half would have normally resulted in
unnecessary transfers, resulting in a savings of approximately $9
million and providing peace of mind for patients and family members.
“We are delighted to have been recognized by ITAC with an IT Hero Award,
and would like to thank eHealth Ontario and the leadership at LHSC for
their close cooperation and collaboration on this project,” said Mike
Clarke, general manager, GE Healthcare IT Canada. “With ENITS, we have
developed a system we are very proud of as it improves the quality,
access and cost of neurosurgical care throughout Ontario and saves
patients and their families the hardships and the stress of unnecessary
Posted July 16/09.