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Diagnostic imaging

Hospitals in central Ontario together acquire PACS

ORILLIA, Ont. – Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital in Orillia and Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC), with sites in Bracebridge, Huntsville and Burk’s Falls, are co-operating on the purchase of a multi-million dollar Philips PACS (Picture Archiving and Communications System.)

The two hospital corporations will save money, improve service to patients and enhance physician recruitment through a joint agreement on the acquisition and utilization of the new, high-tech diagnostic imaging technology.

“PACS is a state-of-the-art system to store and transmit the images from MRI, CT, x-rays and our other diagnostic equipment,” says Soldiers’ Director of Imaging Dave LaFleche. “By negotiating this contract jointly, each hospital will save hundreds of thousands of dollars on the purchase of this needed technology.”

“Selecting the same vendor is an enormous benefit,” explains Harold Featherston, Chief Professional and Diagnostic Services Officer for MAHC. “Not only does it reduce purchasing costs, it also enhances integration opportunities between organizations in relation to sharing and storing of information, as well as training of staff. It’s also a boost to physician recruitment, especially for specialists like radiologists.”

When it is up and running early in the New Year, there will be other benefits to this PACS network. Family physicians will be able to log on to the system right from their offices. For example, a patient from Huntsville who has had an MRI scan in Orillia, will be able to return to their own doctor to see the images on a computer screen and have the results explained to them.

The PACS also allows for expansion, which means other hospitals in the area could negotiate to join in on the system at some time in the future.

Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare is planning to implement PACS in 2008 at the Huntsville District Memorial Hospital and Burk’s Falls & District Health Centre sites. The South Muskoka Hospital Site in Bracebridge already has a PACS, which will be upgraded to enable networking with the other two sites. The Philips PACS will be implemented at Soldiers’ early in 2008.

The Huntsville District Memorial Hospital Foundation will be embarking on a major fundraising campaign in the near future to support the re-development of the diagnostic imaging department, while the South Muskoka Hospital Foundation has agreed to fund the PACS upgrade at the Bracebridge Site.

At Soldiers’, PACS fundraising was already under way as part of the hospital foundation’s commitment to support the new MRI and related required technology.