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Emergency care

St. Joseph's Toronto joins ENITS network

TORONTO – St. Joseph’s Health Centre has become the 100th and final acute care centre to join the Emergency Neuro Image Transfer System (ENITS) for quick access to a neurosurgeon. Seventy neurosurgeons at 13 neurosurgical centres provide online consultations to acute care centres through this system.

“For our patients, ENITS means better and faster access to the right care at the right time and in the right place,” said Carolyn Baker (pictured), President and CEO, St. Joseph’s Health Centre. “This investment in technology means that our patients can access neurological expertise in their community teaching hospital while reducing the need for unnecessary travel. The value to the patient and the system is significant.”

eHealth Ontario and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care combined have provided $2.3 million to support the development and adoption of ENITS. Since January 2009, more than 2,400 head trauma neurosurgical cases have been referred to ENITS.

ENITS is a centralized, online consultation system that makes remote neuro-consultations easier, faster and more accurate – 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Hospitals across the province send head scan images to ENITS where they can be accessed and reviewed by neurosurgeons anytime, anywhere.

Since January 2009, 1,558 patient transfers have been avoided, saving more than $50 million.

“Hospitals can offer patients specialized consultations with on-call neurosurgeons across the province to determine whether or not patient transfer is required,” said Dr. James Rutka, Neurosurgeon, The Hospital for Sick Children. “The consultation process can be life-saving for head injured patients requiring urgent neurosurgical attention, and can facilitate the speed with which they are transferred to a specialized neurosurgical center.”

By providing rapid access to neurosurgeons through electronic networks, ENITS is reducing the transfer of patients to specialty centres. The average cost of each out-of-country neurosurgery transfer is between $75,000 and $100,000.

“ENITS provides the critical infrastructure physicians require to eliminate unnecessary transfers by connecting them to specialized neurosurgeons across the province in real-time,” said Greg Reed, President and CEO of eHealth Ontario. “This is a perfect example of how collaboration within the healthcare system is changing the way patients receive care.”

Posted March 10, 2011