Diagnostic imaging (DI) systems enable authorized health care providers to access and view diagnostic images (such as x-rays, ultrasounds, MRIs and CT scans) and associated reports regardless of where they were created. DI systems electronically collect, store, manage, distribute and display patient radiology images and reports entirely in digital format, without the need for film.
To be fully effective, DI systems must be supported by modern digital archiving technologies, known as Picture Archiving and Communications Systems (PACS). These systems are not always financially viable for small facilities, so sometimes one hospital acts as a centralized PACS repository (a "DI-r") for other facilities in a region.
DI and PACS improve productivity for doctors and technologists, reducing turnaround time by 30-40 per cent, which means patients get their diagnoses faster and their treatments sooner.
Virtually all diagnostic images taken at publicly-funded facilities in Canada are digital, stored in a repository and available for access by authorized clinicians. There were 54,000 estimated users of DI systems as of March 31, 2014, an increase of 157 per cent from the estimated 21,000 users in 2006.