London hospitals to acquire new MRIs and angio suites
January 29, 2020
LONDON, ONT. – Hospitals in London, Ont. have partnered with Siemens Healthineers to refresh and modernize the city’s stock of MRIs and angiography devices. In December, London Health Sciences Centre and St. Joseph’s Health Care London announced the signing of a $42 million deal for six new MRI machines and eight new angio suites.
As part of the agreement, Siemens will also invest $1 million in a research and education centre, in which Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry will also participate.
The acquisition of the new gear will go far to boost the services offered by radiologists, technologists and cardiologists in the city’s hospitals. At LHSC, for example, some of the existing MR and angio equipment is beyond the recommended lifespan.
The new machines, however, will now put London’s hospitals at the leading-edge when it comes to MR and angiography.
Dr. Narinder Paul, city-wide chief of diagnostic imaging at London’s hospitals and at Western University, said that Siemens is recognized for the advanced capabilities of its MR and angiography systems. The intent now is to make use of those abilities. “We’re going to run them to the optimum,” he noted.
The ultimate beneficiaries will be the patients of London and the surrounding catchment area, who will be scanned more quickly, accurately and with less radiation. Not only will the London hospitals use the latest sequences and protocols, but through the research partnership they’re going to be developing new ones.
The research effort will work out of the Lawson Health Research Institute and Robarts Research Institute, where scientists and engineers from Siemens will also add their expertise.
The deal parallels a recent partnership with Canon, in which the London medical centres and university allied with Canon to acquire high-end CT scanners and ultrasound machines. At the same time, Canon came on board as a research partner.
The agreement with Siemens will see the first 3T MRI scanner installed in the region.
LHSC’s University Hospital will acquire one 3T and a 1.5T MRI and two bi-plane angiography suites.
LHSC’s Victoria Hospital will acquire a 3T/1.5T pair of MRIs, a bi-plane and two single plane angiography suites.
For its part, St. Joseph’s will receive a 3T and 1.5T pair of MRIs, and a single plane angiogram suite.
The eight angio systems being installed include three Artis Q bi-plane, two Artis Q Floor mounted systems, two Artis Q ceiling mounted systems, and one Artis Pheno system. The relationship also has the potential for additional systems to be added in the future.
Each of the MRI systems will include Innovere video technology, a system that was devised by scientist-entrepreneurs at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, and which has been adopted by Siemens. The technology allows patients to wear goggles and to watch videos or movies while they’re being imaged – to ease the experience of being in an enclosed tunnel, sometimes for 20 to 30 minutes.
The 70 cm Siemens MRI tunnels are among the widest on the market and are designed to allay the fears of claustrophobic patients.
And the units make use of detachable tables, so that patients can be prepped outside the imaging room, with coils and contrast media if needed, and then wheeled into the suite when ready. That’s designed to facilitate workflow and create a better end-user experience for the patient.
Dr. Paul noted that the philosophy of diagnostic imaging at the London hospitals is supported by four main pillars:
- Safety. The goal is to reduce radiation, heat from the machines, and the volume of dye needed for imaging. Both the safety of patients and staff are key.
- Speed. Radiologists and technologists are aiming to produce fast exams and processes. “But we always want to treat patients with respect and dignity,” said Dr. Paul.
- Specialization. There’s a drive to develop increasing expertise in various areas of specialization. Part of the program involves analyzing and deploying the reams of data that are collected during exams, but rarely used.
- Patient experience. Creating a better visit to the hospital is an important goal, so that patients are pleased with their experiences. Wider MRI tunnels and video technology are part of the program in this area.
When it comes to the research that will be conducted, there are three main themes, said Dr. Paul: neuro, cardio and oncology.
The researchers will be building on a long tradition of expertise in each of these areas that exists at the hospitals. And while Siemens will be contributing in excess of $1 million to the R&D, the hospitals can use this to leverage matching funds or more from provincial and federal government programs.
“Collectively, Western and our partner institutions in London are becoming a global powerhouse, recognized for our expertise and facilities in imaging that drives discovery and innovation across a broad range of disciplines,” said Alan Shepard, president of Western University, in a news release.
“This partnership with Siemens Healthineers builds on our strengths, increases capacity to enhance patient care, and expands opportunities to integrate education, training and research benefit of learners and faculty. It’s a huge win for London and Southwestern Ontario.”
Dr. Gillian Kernaghan, president and CEO of St. Joseph’s, said: “This exciting partnership ensures our ongoing leadership and expertise in the introduction of leading-edge medical imaging technologies and is a critical step toward new approaches in imaging research and patient care.”
And Dr. Paul Woods, president and CEO of LHSC, commented: Investments in capital equipment, such as these new MRI machines and angiogram suites, are incredibly important as they will immediately translate into safer, higher quality care for the patients we serve – in this case, it’s by offering the highest resolution images available, in less time and with improved comfort for patients.”