Eastern Health implements new DR at rural sites
July 17, 2019
ST. JOHN’S, NL – Eastern Health announced that it has installed state-of-the-art digital radiography units at its hospitals in both Burin and Clarenville. The province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and Eastern Health specifically, are the first in Canada to receive these next-generation digital radiography units from GE Healthcare, which represent a significant step forward in X-ray technology.
The new units were launched in Burin and Clarenville on June 14 and June 24, respectively, and will be used for all X-ray procedures. Each unit consists of an X-ray machine, a patient table and a high definition digital wireless detector, at a cost of $395,000 per unit.
“The high definition digital wireless detector, in particular, is brand new technology, having just received approval by Health Canada this past September,” said Ken Baird (pictured), vice president with responsibility for the Medical Imaging Program at Eastern Health. “Placing this technology at our sites in Burin and Clarenville is very much in keeping with Eastern Health’s renewed focus on primary healthcare services throughout the eastern region.”
The new X-ray units will benefit patients in a number of ways:
- The high definition digital wireless detector provides an image that is four times higher in definition than previous detectors. This will enable a more accurate diagnosis and, consequently, more appropriate care. It allows for a 40 percent improvement in detectability, particularly when it comes to subtle fractures and small lung lesions.
- The detector also employs a lower dose of radiation than was used in the system previously in place.
- The patient table, used when patients are required to lie down during a procedure, can accommodate bariatric patients weighing up to 882 pounds, compared to the previous limit of 350 pounds.
The medical imaging program in Clarenville performed close to 13,000 X-ray procedures in the past year, while the Burin site performed just over 11,500. These rural communities will benefit greatly from the new technology, said Dr. Angela Pickles, chief radiologist with medical imaging at Eastern Health.
“These start-of-the-art radiography units will mean better access to quality patient care at our regional sites, and enhance one of the most important diagnostic tools in primary healthcare,” said Dr. Pickles. “To use an analogy, it’s similar to the difference between a standard flat screen TV and a high definition TV. The more accurate the X-ray image is, the more specific the treatment will be – both of which result in better outcomes for our patients.”
A third digital radiography unit will be installed at St. Clare’s Mercy Hospital in St. John’s, in the fall of 2019, as part of Eastern Health’s regular equipment replacement program, through annual funding from the provincial government.
About Eastern Health
Eastern Health is the largest, integrated health authority in Newfoundland and Labrador employing approximately 13,000 dedicated employees, over 600 medical staff, and is supported by more than 2,000 volunteers, including members of numerous auxiliaries and fundraising foundations. With an annual budget of approximately $1.5 billion, the authority offers the full continuum of health and community services including public health, long-term care, community services, hospital care and unique provincial programs and services. Serving a population of over 300,000, Eastern Health’s geographic boundaries extend from St. John’s west to Port Blandford including all communities on the Avalon, Burin and Bonavista Peninsulas.