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Philips PACS eases access to images across three hospitals

OAKVILLE, Ont. – Halton Healthcare Services (HHS) has successfully launched a Picture Archiving Communication System (PACS) across its three community hospitals. Philips Healthcare’s iSite PACS replaced HHS’ conventional hardcopy, film-based means of managing medical images with a more efficient computerized system which electronically stores, distributes and retrieves higher quality digital images.

This comprehensive, multi-site Diagnostic Imaging Project integrates the HHS hospitals digitally and provides them with state-of-the-art digital capabilities.

“Before PACS, we were using film to capture medical images, such as x-rays, but this was very limiting as you only had one copy and it was usually stored at the hospital where the image was taken. It had to be transported across our hospitals or to physician’s or specialist’s offices for consultations,” said Dr. Robert Marotta, HHS Chief Radiologist.

“The Philips iSite PACS delivers high-quality digital images almost instantaneously over our existing hospital network – allowing authorized clinicians to view, easily manipulate and read images on their computers anyplace and anytime – whether they are at the hospital or working remotely from their offices,” added Dr. Marotta.

With PACS, a radiologist at Milton District Hospital, an orthopaedic surgeon at his office in Oakville and a family physician at Georgetown Hospital can consult by telephone as they all simultaneously view and discuss the same digital image on their computer screens. “This flexibility, speed in turnaround time, together with better image quality - will facilitate a quicker and more accurate diagnosis, more timely intervention and a higher quality of patient care,” said Dr. Marotta. “It will play a key role in our patient safety initiatives.”

“One of the advantages of PACS is that almost all our images today are captured and stored electronically – virtually eliminating the need to develop or transport film,” explains Karen Worlidge, HHS PACS Project Coordinator. “Although clinicians may still need to refer to some historical film-based images in the short-term, the need to access these hardcopies will diminish rapidly over time as we build our electronic film libraries.”

“PACS handles a wide range of modalities at HHS, including radiography, CT, MRI, mammography, fluoroscopy and ultrasound. Since all equipment must be digital in order to communicate with PACS, the project necessitated upgrades or replacement of a number of pieces of Diagnostic Imaging equipment across HHS. This new equipment and PACS represents a multi-million dollar investment,” notes Mary Wilson Trider, HHS Vice President. “These purchases were generously supported by our Hospital Foundations in our communities. This technology will increase image availability and overall efficiency and allow our healthcare professionals to manage patients imaging faster and more accurately.”

Halton Healthcare Services purchased Philips iSite PACS in the Fall of 2007.

“The iSite PACS is the leading enterprise-wide medical image and information management system on the market today. It can deliver high quality images in less than three seconds and provides ‘always online’ long-term storage and disaster recovery. Implementation and application training was seamless with the Philips team and was completed meeting all of our timelines and milestones,” continued Trider.

“I find the system very intuitive and user friendly. You are never more than one mouse click away from any function, feature, image or relevant patient information and you can easily access all current and prior exams within seconds,” said Dr. Marotta, “With its advanced clinical tools and navigation capabilities, iSite PACS will increase our reading efficiency so we can focus on what’s really important – patient diagnosis.”