PACS approved for Sechelt, Powell
VANCOUVER – Patients on the
Sunshine Coast and in Powell River will soon receive faster diagnoses
and quicker access to the medical care they need now that the Ministry
of Health Services has approved funding to proceed with a Picture
Archiving and Communications System (PACS).
PACS is an electronic information management system that provides
radiologists, clinicians and other medical professionals with access to
diagnostic image scans and reports via computer. It will allow medical
professionals from across Vancouver Coastal Health and beyond to
remotely view diagnostic images such as X-rays, ultrasounds and CT scans
from patients on the Sunshine Coast and in Powell River.
The new $3.2 million PACS system, which will be installed later this
fiscal year, will also complement the CT scanner at St. Mary’s Hospital
in Sechelt and the one that is planned for Powell River General
Hospital. The contract for renovations that will allow installation of
the Powell River CT scanner is currently at the tender stage on BC Bid.
Patients in Bella Coola and Bella Bella, also part of Vancouver Coastal
Health, will benefit as well.
PACS captures stores and distributes digital radiological images, such
as CT, X-ray and ultrasound and removes the need to print diagnostic
images on film for viewing. The system allows for the immediate
transmission of diagnostic scans over a secure network to awaiting
radiologists and physicians in multiple locations, providing
opportunities for consultation, teaching, research and remote diagnosis.
PACS also provides an extended flexibility for radiologists and
physicians to manipulate images. This is essential as current patient
examinations with CT scanners generate hundreds or thousands of images
rather than the 30 or 40 generated in the past on film.
“PACS greatly improves consultations between physicians and enhances
diagnosis,” said Mary Ackenhusen, Chief Operating Officer for the
Coastal health service delivery area of Vancouver Coastal Health. “PACS
allows radiologists to review examinations dynamically rather than
statically, meaning they can rotate, zoom in or out, and even align
several images easily with a minimum of manipulation. These are all
things that are difficult to do with static film images.”
Once a patient undergoes diagnostic imaging, the resulting images are
sent to the PACS system, where the radiologist reads the images and
provides a diagnostic report. The diagnostic report is then merged with
the patient’s images and archived as part of the patient’s permanent
Vancouver Coastal Health is responsible for the delivery of $2.8 billion
in community, hospital and residential care services to over one million
people in communities from Richmond through Vancouver, the North Shore,
Sunshine Coast, Sea to Sky corridor, Powell River, Bella Bella and Bella
Posted Aug. 13/09.