PACS solution at rural hospital
includes teleradiology for CT
– Norfolk General Hospital recently underwent an expansion that included
a whole new facility for the DI department. The hospital is located in
Simcoe, Ont., a farming community in southern Ontario about two hours
Part of that re-development involved the implementation of a GE
Centricity PACS SE, and NGH has the distinction of being the first
Centricity PACS SE site in Canada.
Centricity PACS SE is best described as a “PACS-in-a-box”, and brings
the power and functionality of Centricity PACS EE for large healthcare
institutions scaled to meet the needs of single site community hospitals
and imaging centres.
The hardware for Centricity PACS SE is literally shipped pre-assembled,
pre-racked, with all software pre-installed in a large box to the
customer site and can be up and running within 4-5 hours.
Not only is the Centricity PACS SE hardware package designed for rapid
deployment, but the implementation services are also designed to
significantly shorten the PACS roll out timelines.
The NGH PACS project used a clinical transformation specialist role for
the first time that combined clinical applications, change management
consulting, and modality integration knowledge into one, and this was
successfully fulfilled by Micheline Menard, who is usually a PACS
clinical applications specialist.
“One of the most appreciated qualities that the GE team offered was
their understanding of the importance of workflow issues to the success
of the project,” says Deb Moore, NGH’s PACS system administrator. “The
support received through face-to-face communications and Word documents
provided excellent guidance as we evaluated our workflow in the present,
interim and future states. Our success at go-live can be attributed
certainly to the software training and preparation, but the most
impressive contribution was from our preparedness in workflow. You
cannot anticipate all challenges at go-live, however, we had
significantly reduced those challenges by our diligent workflow review.”
The NGH Centricity PACS SE went live on October 31, 2005 with CR (for
radiography images) and C-arm. By November 2005, more that 75 percent of
all clinical areas were accessing digital images on-line, and NGH
expected to be fully filmless by January 1, 2006, just 60 days after
PACS was implemented.
By the end of January, a new 64-slice CT, a new R&F room, and three new
ultrasound scanners are to be added to the PACS, and help transform
NGH’s diagnostic imaging department with Centricity PACS SE as a major
part of the new facility.
According to Steve Egan, Director of Diagnostic Imaging, “The GE process
for getting NGH up and running with their GE PACS system was painless.
The entire GE team were very understanding and supportive. The training
for our staff was on time. Our radiologist, Dr.Chow, was reading images
on PACS almost immediately.”
The NGH Centricity PACS SE also includes an element of telemedicine. As
explained by Dave Little, Director of Information Technology, “NGH does
not have a Radiologist on site to read CT exams. The GE team has been
great in their execution and support of our Remote Radiologist Project.
This project will have radiologists from a clinic in North York reading
NGH CT images full time. This provides a much faster turn around time
for our patients than a solution where the Radiologist visits on a
weekly basis. The CT exam backlog is reduced and the CT is utilized more
effectively. This may become a model for rural hospitals in the future.”
Dave Little added that, “Norfolk General had a motto for the PACS
project, which was ‘No Surprises’. This motto was referring to
financial, operational and functional surprises that this type of
project can create. Everyone on the GE team, from sales through to
service, understood our motto and there were no surpises, except for how
smooth and uncomplicated the implementation of the PACS system was.”