Sudbury hospital slashes DI turnaround times
June 21, 2023
SUDBURY, Ont. – Health Sciences North (HSN) is reporting significant gains in medical imaging turnaround times through a telehealth-based collaboration with the Joint Department Of Medical Imaging (JDMI), part of the Toronto-based University Health Network. HSN chief of staff Dr. John Fenton (pictured) told the hospital’s annual meeting that the average turnaround time for imaging reporting for patients in the emergency department decreased from seven hours in 2019 to one hour today.
Moreover, he said the turnaround time for in-patients decreased from 15 hours in 2019 to two hours today, despite a 31 percent increase in the volume of images.
“HSN’s collaboration with the Joint Department of Medical Imaging, a multi-hospital department that serves five hospital sites belonging to the University Health Network, Sinai Health and Women’s College Hospital, continues to provide quality and timely care to patients,” Fenton told the meeting.
Overall, patient images – X-rays, CT scans, MRIs and others – are seen and read by specially trained radiologists at a rate that has increased from 20 percent in 2019 to more than 80 percent in 2023, according to a report on Sudbury.com.
Dr. Fenton said there was also improvement in getting images read for outpatients. It was 17 days in 2019 and today it is only six days, said Fenton.
“These improvements in more specific and reliable diagnostic imaging, shorter wait times in the emergency department, a reduced length of stay for inpatients, and quicker answers for outpatients.”
Another collaborative effort underway, said Fenton, is the plan to create a digital record of all hospital patients across Northeastern Ontario, which he said is part of HSN’s five-year strategic goal to create and implement the Regional Electronic Medical Record.
This is important because not every patient in the North goes to the same hospital. Many patients have to travel to get enhanced care in other cities.
“The ONE initiative or ONE Health Information Technology System is a regional alignment of HSN and 23 of our partner hospitals across Northeastern Ontario in the utilization of one electronic medical record,” he said.
“The primary goal of this initiative is to enhance safe, evidence-based and patient-and family-centred care through a clinical transformation enabled by workflow redesign and supported by technology systems,” Dr. Fenton added.
Hospital president and CEO Dominic Giroux said the implementation of the new digital system was slowed down by the pandemic, but is expected to fully come online in 2024.
Giroux said by having regional medical records, a patient’s health information will be available to hospitals across the Northeast, meaning that patients will not need to retell their medical histories or repeat medical tests.
On a separate note, Dominic Giroux is leaving Health Sciences North to become president and CEO of Hôpital Montfort in Ottawa. His term there begins July 31.
Giroux grew up in the Ottawa area and said in a press release that he could not pass up a role at a francophone hospital.
“I was born at Montfort and served on its board in the late ’90s. I was a volunteer at the historic rally of 10,000 people at the Ottawa Civic Centre in March 1997, to oppose the planned closure of Montfort, which was overturned by the Ontario Court of Appeal in 2001,” he said.
“With my aging parents living in Ottawa and me being their only child, the chance to see them more regularly at this stage in life is simply a gift.”