Canada falls behind in DI with aging equipment
May 25, 2022
OTTAWA – A new report from the Conference Board of Canada asserts that Canada lags behind other developed nations in terms of investment in medical imaging equipment and replacement standards, with 35% of equipment being 10 years or older. This far exceeds the European Coordination Committee of Radiological, Electromedical and Healthcare IT Industry’s (COCIR) “Golden Rule” stipulating that only 10% of equipment should be 10 years or older.
“Medical imaging lives at the centre of healthcare in Canada, touching patients’ lives during multiple phases of their care journey. Demand is growing, but our equipment and processes are not keeping up with what is required to diagnose and treat patients,” said Dr. Gilles Soulez (pictured), CAR president.
He added, “This report clearly shows the need for Canada to make drastic changes to our approach to medical imaging equipment and technology, to keep up with demand and help protect Canadian lives.”
In 2013, the Canadian Association of Radiologists (CAR) took the lead in developing comprehensive Life Cycle Guidance (LCG) for Medical Imaging (MI) Equipment in Canada.
The Conference Board of Canada’s report provides a thorough review of the updated literature on medical imaging, explores the considerable changes in the health technology sector since CAR’s 2013 report, and compares Canada’s current situation to other jurisdictions with comparable healthcare systems.
“Timely access to medical imaging is critical to support positive patient outcomes and the experiences of health professionals providing care. Increased wait times also have a substantial cost to the Canadian economy,” said Chad Leaver, director of health at the Conference Board of Canada.
“Canada lags behind peer nations in our investment in healthcare capital, and this really fails to position our health systems effectively for the future. This is important now, more than ever, because timely access to medical imaging will be key to the success of provincial/territorial strategies to address surgical and cancer care backlogs that Canadians and care providers are facing because of the pandemic,” added Leaver.
The findings in Medical Imaging Equipment in Canada 2022 support CAR’s recommendations to the federal government outlined in its 2022 budget submission for increased funding to replace aging medical imaging equipment and address the severe backlogs the COVID-19 pandemic has further exasperated.
The report further supports CAR’s call for the need to harness AI for the strategic prioritization of health human resources, technology, and infrastructure for medical imaging.
“Before the pandemic, Canadians were already waiting an average of 50 to 82 days for CT scans and 89 days for MRI imaging. This is 20 to 52 days longer than the recommended 30-day wait time, and this backlog increased significantly during the pandemic. According to a survey of CAR members, most centres cannot catch up with this additional workload,” said Soulez.
“Without additional investment in equipment and human resources and modernization of prioritizing and referring imaging, we are looking at a very bleak future,” commented Dr. Soulez.
About the CAR
The Canadian Association of Radiologists (CAR) is the national specialty society for radiologists in Canada. Committed to promoting the highest standards of patient care, lifelong learning, research, and helping radiologists contribute to patients’ very best health care, CAR is the national voice for medical imaging excellence in patient care.
About The Conference Board of Canada
The Conference Board of Canada is the country’s leading independent research organization. Our mission is to empower and inspire leaders to build a stronger future for all Canadians through our trusted research and unparalleled connections. Follow The Conference Board of Canada on Twitter @ConfBoardofCda.