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Diagnostic imaging

NS hospitals said to be 96 percent filmless

KENTVILLE, NS Nova Scotia Premier Rodney MacDonald announced at a press conference that the completion of a new digital diagnostic system at hospitals across the province will help physicians and their patients make faster and better treatment decisions.

By installing a Picture Archive and Communications System (PACS) in 49 hospital sites, the project will replace film-based imaging with faster, safer, more streamlined digital processes. The hospitals are using Agfa HealthCare’s IMPAX for picture archiving and communication. As of today, Nova Scotia hospitals are 96 percent filmless.

“Nova Scotia is providing health-care professionals with faster access to better information by using diagnostic imaging, a key component of the electronic health record,” said Richard Alvarez Infoway’s president and CEO. “This will go a long way towards improving the efficiency, accessibility and quality of patient care in Canada's health-care system.”

The project began in 2004 at a total cost of $25 million. Canada Health Infoway is contributing $12 million; $10 is being supplied by the provincial government; the remaining $3 million to come from the federal medical equipment fund.

The project is being implemented in hospitals across the province by teams from district health authorities with support from Sierra Systems, who provided project management; Agfa Inc., the vendor of the PACs equipment; and EMC Corp., the centralized information management and storage provider.

The Agfa IMPAX system allows hospitals to capture, analyze and transmit digital images including X-rays, CT scans, ultrasounds and MRIs, which are stored centrally in the Provincial Archive. Each hospital is able to query the Provincial Archive, offering radiologists and other physicians fast access to patient images no matter where they’re located.

“Digital imaging has transformed the way healthcare is delivered. With IMPAX in place across Nova Scotia, the province’s radiologists and emergency room physicians can make decisions in minutes often the difference between life and death,” said Michael Green, vice president healthcare, Agfa Inc.