Rural Ontario hospitals link to
high-powered DI network
Ont. – Huron Perth Health Care Alliance (HPHA) has connected to one of
North America’s most sophisticated digital imaging networks – the
Southwestern Ontario Digital Imaging Network, which links nine other
hospital organizations in Southwestern Ontario.
For its part, the rural HPHA, encompassing hospitals in Clinton, St.
Marys, Seaforth and Stratford, is now able to share diagnostic images
with other primary, secondary and tertiary care hospitals in the
network. Access to this regional system leads to improved care for
patients, the partners said.
“Ensuring our healthcare professionals have access to the latest
technology is extremely important for the HPHA. It assists in the
recruitment and retention of staff and physicians and strengthens our
ability to provide needed healthcare services locally,” said Andrew
Williams (pictured), CEO of HPHA.
Funding for this project is from HPHA and its community, in partnership
with Canada Health Infoway. “This is one of the largest shared
diagnostic imaging projects of its kind in Canada. It can serve as a
model for other jurisdictions across the country,” said Stella Skerlec,
DI and Registries Program Director for Canada Health Infoway.
Infoway presented Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance with $481,456 for its
portion of the overall initiative.
Shared imaging is helping to improve healthcare delivery in rural
communities by increasing access to radiologists, nuclear medicine
physicians and other specialists.
“Emergency physicians can now obtain timely radiology reports on CTs and
other difficult to interpret films,” said Dr. Miriam Mann, HPHA’s
Medical Program Director, Emergency Services. “Just this week, CT images
on a late evening trauma patient were reviewed and dictated before 7:00
am the next morning.”
Digital images are filmless – much like a digital camera. Digital
imaging systems enable healthcare providers to view, manage, distribute
and electronically store a patient’s exam images from x-ray, CT,
ultrasound, nuclear medicine, MRIs, and PET scans, as well as medical
files from any location connected through the system – regardless of
where the test was conducted. The PACS (Picture Archiving and
Communications Systems) captures, stores and sends images using digital
By joining the Southwestern Ontario Digital Imaging Network, the HPHA
hospitals can now access DI resources at:
• Alexandra Hospital (Ingersoll)
• London Health Sciences Centre
• Middlesex Hospital Alliance
• Four Counties Health Services (Newbury);
• Strathroy Middlesex General Hospital.
• St. Joseph’s Health Care London
• St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital
• Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital
• Woodstock General Hospital
The Southwestern Ontario Digital Imaging Network is serving as a model
for other health information network projects across Canada. Planning is
under way to continue expanding this network to other Southwestern
About Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance
Four hospital corporations founded the Alliance in July 2003: Clinton
Public Hospital, St. Marys Memorial Hospital, Seaforth Community
Hospital, and Stratford General Hospital.
About Canada Health Infoway
Infoway is an independent not-for-profit organization that invests with
public sector partners across Canada to implement and re-use compatible
health information systems, which support a safer, more efficient
healthcare system. Fully respecting patient confidentiality, these
private and secure systems provide healthcare professionals with rapid
access to complete and accurate patient information, enabling better
decisions about diagnosis and treatment. The result is a sustainable
healthcare system offering improved quality, accessibility and