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Digital Diagnostic Imaging Provides Significant Benefits to Canadians and our Health System

Posted on December 12, 2017 by Jeff Green

There are many new and exciting initiatives underway at Infoway including PrescribeITTM, Canada’s national e-prescribing solution, which has made incredible progress in the past 18 months.

While Infoway has shifted its focus to these new initiatives, we are continuing to support the completion of our foundational investments in electronic health records (EHRs) across the country. An EHR refers to the systems that make up the secure and private lifetime record of a person’s health and health care history. These systems store and share such information as lab results, medication profiles, key clinical reports (e.g., hospital discharge summaries), diagnostic images (e.g., x-rays), and immunization histories. The information is available electronically to authorized health care providers.

Since our inception in 2001, Infoway has sponsored projects to implement EHRs in all provinces and territories. Most of these projects are now complete or very near completion, so Infoway is in the process of winding down our foundational EHR programs. In fact, Infoway is aiming to have all our EHR-related programs closed by the end of June, 2018.

The most recent program to formally close is the Diagnostic Imaging (DI) Program. This program, launched in 2003, was one of Infoway’s first EHR programs. Since then, Infoway has invested $368 million in 39 DI projects spanning every province and territory. As a result of these projects, nearly 100 per cent of all public acute care hospitals across Canada are now filmless. This means that x-rays, ultrasounds, MRIs and CAT scans taken in these hospitals are all in digital form, and stored in large jurisdictional or regional repositories for access by authorized clinicians, including those located outside the hospitals where the images originated.

Click to view InfographicThese digital diagnostic imaging solutions have enabled a number of benefits, including:

  • 30-40 per cent reduction in DI exam turn-around time
  • 25-30 per cent improvement in radiologists’ productivity (equivalent to adding 450-540 radiologists to the system)
  • 10,000-17,000 unnecessary patient transfers for additional imaging avoided each year
  • 30-40 per cent of radiologists are now enabled to securely review images remotely, improving access for patients in rural/remote areas.

These benefits have been valued at $566-$664 million annually, which means that, since 2003, digital diagnostic imaging solutions have resulted in cumulative savings of more than $9 billion in cost savings and efficiencies.

View this infographic that summarizes the achievements of our DI Program.

Have a comment about this post? We’d love to hear from you.

Jeff GreenJeff Green

Jeff Green is the Director of Infoway’s EHR Investment Programs.

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