Posted on December 2, 2014 by Rose Serjak
When I talk with family and friends, I am able to share a lot of information with them about the progress that has been made in digital health in Canada. Thanks to Digital Health Week shining the spotlight on this progress, Canadians who might not have been “in the know” are now able to start their own conversations about the impact that digital health is having on their lives, and the promise it holds for the future.
Digital health initiatives are flourishing, across Ontario and across the country. A great example is the drive for “filmless-ness” in diagnostic imaging (DI) in Ontario. The word “filmless-ness” in itself is an innovative and progressive word. You may recall how physicians used to view X-rays , if only from TV shows or the movies. Remember the film mounted on a white screen? Not seeing this any longer on film (pun intended) may be a testament to how far we have progressed in DI.
In Ontario, X-rays, CT scans and MRIs are no longer captured on film in hospitals. The hospitals have become filmless in these areas. This was a big accomplishment, but it was not a simple transition. The journey began more than 10 years ago. One of the first hospitals to undertake the transition was the Thames Valley Hospital in Southern Ontario. The filmless movement then spread gradually to all hospitals in Ontario, and once they were on their way, the notion of cross-site sharing of DI images gained traction. Four diagnostic imaging repositories (DI-r) are now in place across the province and multiple health care sites have access to each of the repositories. The next step is to connect these four repositories so that, regardless of where your health provider is within the province, he or she will be able to access your images as required.
The work that has been done in DI, in Ontario and the rest of Canada, is big news. And it’s exciting that patients are reaping the benefits of progress made to date. Here is one patient’s story.
Now how will the knowledge that we have gained in DI help map the future of a somewhat similar space — digital pathology? The digitizing of pathology slides has begun in this country, and is gaining momentum. A telepathology project which is currently underway will enable secondary consultation between multiple provinces.. It will be interesting to see the results of this project, especially with regard to the governance structure. It will also be interesting to see if any learnings can be shared from DI-r governance structures that are already established. I do know this – it will give us something more that we can talk about!
I’m sure that, like me, you are looking forward to the next Digital Health Week to learn more about the exciting progress that is being made across Canada!
Have a comment about this post? We’d love to hear from you.
Rose has over 10 years of project management experience at Canada Health Infoway. She is currently managing projects in Ontario, Manitoba, and Newfoundland/Labrador, and manages projects within the Consumer Health Solutions portfolio. In her experience to date, she would advocate that strong management, measurement, and effective engagement are critical success factors in complex pan-Canadian digital health projects.