More hospitals join SWODIN network
WINGHAM, Ont. – The days of downloading diagnostic images to CDs and
sending them with patients, sometimes taped to their chests while in
transit from one hospital to the next, are almost over in Southwestern
The integration of Listowel Wingham Hospitals Alliance into the
Southwestern Ontario Diagnostic Imaging Network (SWODIN) completes the
connection of all hospitals in Local Health Integration Network (LHIN)
In LHIN 1, Chatham-Kent is complete, Bluewater Health in Sarnia comes
online in October and the three hospitals in the Windsor-Essex region
will be complete by March 2010.
SWODIN is a revolutionary technology and infrastructure network that
allows medical professionals to instantly access, exchange and store
patient images such as X-rays, CT scans, ultrasounds, mammograms and
Now, radiologists, referring physicians and specialists from nearly 30
hospitals across Southwestern Ontario can view images and diagnostic
reports anywhere, anytime. The network is the first of its kind in North
America to provide access to a comprehensive record of patient images
acquired at multiple facilities from multiple vendor platforms.
“The network enhances local service at rural community hospitals in a
very sophisticated way,” says Margret Comack (pictured above), Chief
Executive Officer, Listowel Wingham Hospitals Alliance, noting that the
alliance has traditionally operated with a high level of technological
advancement and integration.
Comack relates the story of a patient who recently arrived at the
Emergency department. Doctors were able to instantly retrieve images
from previous radiology procedures performed at multiple hospital sites.
At a glance, they could view images simultaneously, understand the
patient’s history, and make a faster diagnosis.
In fact, within the first week of Listowel Wingham Hospitals Alliance
going live, over 50 percent of new images added to the network were for
patients who had exams performed outside their home hospital. Images
that previously had to be transported by CD are now all viewable on the
“It is exciting to see this advancement in technology,” said Robert
Devitt, interim CEO eHealth Ontario. “eHealth Ontario is proud to
provide funding that enables healthcare providers to harness technology
for the benefit of all Ontarians.”
In addition to better patient care, Comack comments that the system
makes day-to-day operations much more efficient. Radiologists shared by
several hospitals can now spend less time in the car and more time
consulting to multiple locations across the region.
“Today’s announcement is about providing residents of Listowel and
Wingham with a modernized and efficient healthcare system through
investments in electronic health record systems,” said Richard Alvarez,
President and CEO, Canada Health Infoway. “Electronic sharing of
diagnostic images and reports will help cut costs and enable quicker
diagnosis so patients can receive treatment sooner.”
“This leap in integration of diagnostic information has made it much
easier for our patients to travel through levels of care across our
system without having to repeat diagnostic tests,” agrees Maureen
Solecki, President and Chief Executive Officer, Grey Bruce Health
Services. Grey Bruce Health Services, South Bruce Grey Health Centre and
Hanover and District Hospital were among the first facilities to join
Patients can get consultations from specialists at other facilities much
faster because specialists can now share images and discuss treatment
plans concurrently. The network brings additional functionality
including superior image quality and the ability to zoom in and out on
“This is an exciting time for London and regional hospitals,” says Diane
Beattie, Integrated Vice President and Chief Information Officer, London
Health Sciences Centre and St. Joseph’s Health Care, London and SWODIN
Executive Project Sponsor. “The expansion of this network is helping us
deliver more efficient care to our patients.”
About Southwestern Ontario Diagnostic Imaging Network (SWODIN)
SWODIN connects radiologists, referring physicians and specialists
across Southwestern Ontario, allowing them to instantly access, exchange
and store diagnostic images and reports. Operating since 2004, SWODIN
has just reached the milestone of one million sharable exams which
includes over 60 million images.
SWODIN is the first network of its kind in North American to provide
access to a comprehensive record of patient images acquired at multiple
facilities from multiple vendor platforms. Images are housed in a secure
facility in southwestern Ontario that is built to handle four million
exams per year as the network grows. All data is replicated in a second
facility in another location and extensive fail-safe procedures are in
SWODIN started with eight locations, including London Health Sciences
Centre and St. Joseph’s Health Care London and six community hospitals,
and has grown to 30 hospitals in LHINs 1 and 2. By August 2011, more
than 60 hospitals across LHINs 1 through 4 will be connected.
The SWODIN project acknowledges the support and funding from
participating hospitals, eHealth Ontario and Canada Health Infoway that
have made this project possible.
eHealth Ontario is a new organization that plays the leading role in
harnessing technology and innovation to improve patient care, safety,
and access in support of the Ontario government’s health strategy.
eHealth Ontario published the first ehealth strategy for Ontario in
March 2009, which is focused on providing a comprehensive,
patient-focused, secure and private electronic system. eHealth Ontario
will drive the transformation of Ontario’s health care system, building
toward an electronic health record for all Ontarians by 2015.
Canada Health Infoway is an independent, not-for-profit organization
funded by the federal government. Infoway jointly invests with every
province and territory to accelerate the development and adoption of
electronic health record projects in Canada. Fully respecting patient
confidentiality, these secure systems will provide clinicians and
patients with the information they need to better support safe care
decisions and manage their own health.
Posted Aug. 27/09.