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Radiology

Work begins on Ontario's fourth DI repository

TORONTO – Work on Ontario’s fourth and largest diagnostic imaging repository is under way and will begin benefitting patients across the western parts of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and North Simcoe Muskoka region later this year. The GTA West Diagnostic Imaging Repository (DI-r) will allow 10,000 medical professionals across hospital sites in greater Toronto and central Ontario to access, exchange and store patient images such as X-rays, CT scans, ultrasounds and MRIs.

To begin the project, two pilot sites have been selected to implement the solution – The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and William Osler Health System in Brampton. The first of the pilot sites will go live in December.

The GTA West Project and CGI Group will operate the repository on behalf of 21 healthcare facilities, across five Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs), representing approximately 39 sites in the GTA and Central Ontario. The five participating LHINs are Toronto Central, Central, Central West, Mississauga Halton and North Simcoe Muskoka.

The system will provide a secure, shared repository for storage, retrieval and viewing of diagnostic images such as X-rays, MRIs, and associated documents throughout multiple hospital sites in the greater Toronto and central Ontario (GTA West).

“This initiative is an integral part of eHealth Ontario’s program to build electronic health records for all Ontarians,” said Greg A. Reed (pictured), President and CEO of eHealth Ontario. “The GTA West DI-r project is the final step towards making all diagnostic imaging in Ontario hospitals digital and sharable between health care providers.

“This set of electronic records will reduce wait times and lengths of stay by allowing quicker exam reports and clinical decisions by physicians and specialists,” said Reed. “Patients will also benefit from decreased travel time and fewer costly and inconvenient transfers since radiologists, referring physicians and specialists across GTA West will be able to view images and results anywhere and anytime.”

An agreement was reached between the GTA West DI-r project, CGI Group and the University Health Network (UHN). CGI Group will be responsible for the design, development and management of the shared Diagnostic Imaging repository. UHN, acting as the Transfer Payment Agent, will manage the funding for the GTA West DI-r project and provide the project management.

“The GTA West DI-r will not only increase efficiency within Diagnostic Imaging, it will promote greater clinical collaboration amongst our partner organizations,” said Dr. Bob Bell, President and CEO, University Health Network. “Most importantly, clinicians will be able to view a patient’s full longitudinal Diagnostic Imaging history, irrespective of where previous images were acquired. This will result in a seamless transition for patients seeking care outside of their local healthcare facility and undoubtedly improve the quality of their overall care.”

Three other Diagnostic Imaging repositories cover the rest of the province, and include the Southwestern Ontario Diagnostic Imaging Network (SWODIN), The Northern and Eastern Ontario Diagnostic Imaging Network (NEODIN), and the Hospital Diagnostic Imaging Repository Services (HDIRS).

With the implementation of the GTA West DI-r, as the fourth and final repository, Ontario will have an integrated and interoperable provincial network to share digital images across the province by March 2013.

“Diagnostic Imaging systems are set to yield up to $1 billion in cost savings and efficiencies once in place across Canada thanks to reduced patient transfers, fewer duplicate exams and the elimination of X-ray film,” said Richard Alvarez, President and CEO, Canada Health Infoway, the federally funded organization that invested $25 million in Ontario’s initiative. “Ontario has reached a milestone with the launching of the GTA West DI-r, which will go on to benefit patients for generations to come.”

“This is a significant milestone in improving patient care,” said Deb Matthews, Ontario’s Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. “Once complete, approximately 1.5 million patients will have access to a system that results in fewer tests being required, and less time waiting for treatment.”


Posted June 16, 2011

 

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