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Diagnostic imaging

Saskatchewan moves ahead with provincial PACS

Patients in the Cypress Region of Saskatchewan will benefit from reduced waits and improved service in rural areas with the establishment of a secure computer system for the storage, retrieval and display of diagnostic images, such as X-rays and CT scans. The Cypress Regional Hospital will be the first regional hospital in the province to have this type of digital imaging system.

Secure access to a centralized, complete source of patients’ digital images will help authorized Saskatchewan healthcare professionals offer the highest quality of care to their patients. The solution is known as a Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS).

"Cypress Regional Hospital and the three hospitals in the Saskatoon Health Region are the first participants in the provincial PACS," Health Minister Don McMorris said.

"Through PACS, authorized healthcare providers in both health regions can securely share patient images and discuss patient treatment and recovery on the telephone, from their own offices, in their own communities. This will lead to more access to specialists and less travel for residents of the Cypress Health Region. As the PACS system grows throughout the province over the next year, residents will receive faster, safer and better care, closer to home."

Cypress Regional Hospital was built to be filmless, without large areas devoted to storage of x-ray films or the chemicals required for film developing. More square footage is dedicated to patient care. The province’s goal is to reduce dependence on conventional photographic film technology and its storage by 90 percent by 2010.

"The Cypress Health Region is honoured to have the first regional hospital in Saskatchewan with the ability to use PACS," Cypress Health Region chief executive officer Jim Hornell said. "We believe PACS will be extremely valuable to our health professionals and all residents of southwest Saskatchewan. This computer system will decrease waiting times between tests and results and increase patient safety within our region."

Safeguards are in place to ensure only health professionals involved in patient care access personal health information. Policies, procedures and computer systems are in place to protect information from unauthorized use, error or loss.

PACS joins the Pharmaceutical Information Program (PIP) as one of the first components of a provincial electronic health record.