State-of-the-art breast imaging centre for Kingston
August 11, 2021
KINGSTON, Ont. – People in the Kingston area will soon have access to a state-of-the-art breast screening and imaging centre, opening in early 2022. Dr. Omar Islam (pictured), head of Kingston Health Sciences Centre’s department of diagnostic radiology, said Breast Imaging Kingston is a partnership between Kingston General Hospital and the Ontario Breast Screening Program and has been in the works for more than a decade.
“It’s a win for the whole region,” Dr. Islam told the Kingston Whig Standard. “The centre, because of its uniqueness, will really put breast imaging and diagnosis that we provide here on the Canadian map.”
The multimillion-dollar project will be a single floor and roughly 8,000 square feet with room for expansion. Dr. Islam said it will be packed with the latest equipment, thanks to “showcase” agreements with vendors.
He explained that the agreement means the clinic gets the best equipment while allowing other potential customers of the vendors – including professionals, physicians, researchers, educators and administrators – to visit and test the machinery and the processes in which they’re used. The vendors would also be able to send their own staff to train on the equipment.
“A showcase site is really a hub of activity – a hub of intellectual and research activity,” Dr. Islam said. “We’re really proud that we’ll have that ability that will serve to attract people to Kingston. Researchers, physicians, radiologists, nurses, technologists, we all want the best for our patients and to work with the best equipment and work in a wonderful environment.
“I think this will be a model that people will want to copy.”
Meanwhile, those being treated at the clinic will get the best care without having to go to multiple locations. Dr. Islam said they’ve been able to work with architects to ensure the centre is a welcoming, peaceful place for patients who are likely going through an extremely stressful and scary situation.
“We’re trying our best to make it not feel like a hospital setting, more of a comforting setting,” he said, adding, “They’ll be seeing the same friendly faces each time in reception, in the waiting area – the technologists, nurses, doctors, they’ll all be under the same roof and you’ll have access to these other additional specialists at the same facility.”
The goal of the clinic is to be a one-stop shop for patients. Islam said the clinic will be able to do everything except MRI scans and surgeries, both of which are done at Kingston General Hospital.
“It’ll be a really holistic centre where a patient will come and that patient will have access to the latest and greatest in imaging equipment and all the various specialists and services all under one roof,” Islam said. “That really impacts patient care in a really positive way.”
The centre will include four mammography units with tomosynthesis, four ultrasound machines, one automatic breast ultrasound, a biopsy room with a prone table and a vacuum-assisted biopsy device, as well as a magseed marker for tumour localization and a contrast injector.
Dr. Islam said one of the main goals of the clinic is to reduce wait times. Right now, the wait time between a screening mammography to a first assessment is approximately three weeks.
“With the centre, we hope to decrease that to one week,” he said. “That is a significant decrease in wait time, especially for a woman who has a breast lump, is worried that it could be cancer, and they have to wait weeks to find out.”
From diagnosis to biopsy is usually another three weeks, Islam said. They also hope to reduce that wait to a week.
While many local staff members will transfer over to the new facility, Islam said additional healthcare professionals will likely be hired because of the new services that will be provided.
“It is going to attract a whole new set of healthcare workers interested in breast imaging to Kingston and to our facility,” Islam said. “We would be looking for technologists, nurses, radiologists, students, researchers to come to this facility as we grow and expand over the years.”