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Diagnostic imaging

Sault Ste-Marie goes with IMPAX for PACS

SAULT STE-MARIE, Ont. – The Sault Area Hospital (SAH) announced that it will implement Agfa Healthcare’s web-deployable IMPAX 6.0 PACS (Picture Archive and Communications System). Once the first phase is implemented, SAH will acquire, manage and distribute images and reports from CT and MRI exams in a filmless, paperless imaging environment.

Serving approximately 120,000 people across the Algoma District, SAH conducts 110,000 diagnostic imaging exams each year, including a large number of patient referrals from neighbouring hospitals.

With IMPAX, SAH can electronically share digital images and reports across all connected sites (Sault Area Hospital main site, Sault Ste. Marie; Thessalon Hospital, Thessalon; and Matthews Hospital, St. Josephs Island), and authorized physicians, specialists and radiologists in any location can quickly view current and prior exams, regardless of where the exams were acquired.

The solution will also allow SAH to share images and reports on an even larger scale by integrating into the Pan Northern Ontario PACS Project (PNOPP), with such centres as Thunder Bay, Sudbury and Timmins.

“Based on Agfa HealthCare’s reputation as an industry leader and a close review of their PACS technology during the RFP process, it was clear that the IMPAX solution was the right way for us to go,” said Marie Paluzzi, Director of Clinical Support Services/Senior Diagnostic Imaging Manager at Sault Area Hospitals. “Our goal is to implement the right technology across all sites that will help us improve efficiency and reduce wait times, but also enhance the care we provide. Agfa’s solution enables us to do that, and more.”

“For a radiologist, the key issues are access to images and productivity. With increasing patient loads, we need to be able to read more cases in the same amount of time,” said Dr. Jeffrey K. Jenkin, radiologist at SAH. “IMPAX allows us to securely access images and results from wherever we’re located, enabling faster turnaround times for reports, and ultimately, the enhancement of patient care.”

The IMPAX application will be available via the web to authorized users on almost any secure Local Area Network (LAN) and Wide Area Network (WAN) computer workstation, keeping in-hospital and remote doctors connected at any time. It also provides a foundation to grow and expand the system to accommodate additional modality types such as Ultrasound and Computed Radiography.

“With IMPAX in place, SAH doctors can bridge the distance between rural and urban areas and deliver patient care faster,” said Michael Green, President and CEO for Agfa HealthCare in Canada. “With its adoption of PACS, SAH will be well positioned to the national EHR from theory to reality – leading the way toward a more communicative and efficient healthcare system in Canada.”

The final phase of the IMPAX installation for Sault Area Hospital is targeted for completion in November 2007.

About Agfa HealthCare
Agfa HealthCare, a member of the Agfa-Gevaert Group, is a leading provider of IT-enabled clinical workflow and image management solutions, and state-of-the-art systems for capturing, processing and printing images in hospitals and healthcare facilities. The company has over a century of experience in diagnostic imaging and has been a pioneer on the healthcare IT market since the early 1990’s. Agfa HealthCare today employs 5,700 staff members, with sales offices and representatives in over 100 markets worldwide. Sales for Agfa HealthCare in 2006 were 1,452 million Euro, accounting for 43% of total group sales.

About Sault Area Hospital
Sault Area Hospital (SAH) is a 289-bed facility, serving a total catchment population of approximately 120,000 across the Algoma District. SAH is an amalgamation of the former Plummer Memorial Public Hospital and the Sault Ste. Marie General Hospital Inc. The two main hospital sites are located adjacent to each other. There are also two satellite hospital sites – Matthews Memorial, an emergency and outpatient hospital on St. Joseph Island (30 minutes east) and Thessalon Hospital, a four-bed hospital in Thessalon (one hour east). The provincial government has announced its support for the construction of a new hospital and plans are progressing for construction to begin in 2007. The hospital’s comprehensive cancer treatment program includes chemotherapy, biotherapy and full supportive care via the Algoma District Cancer Program, located at the Plummer site. Plans call for a satellite radiation centre at the new hospital. A CT scanner and an MRI scanner are included among the hospital’s diagnostic equipment. Other diagnostic services include nuclear medicine and a state-of-the-art cardiac angiography suite. An active and successful foundation, Sault Area Hospital Foundation, fundraises on the hospital’s behalf.