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Work begins on Ontario’s fourth and final diagnostic imaging repository

1.5 Million Patients to Benefit from Faster Test Results

June 6, 2011 (Toronto, ON) - Work on Ontario’s fourth and largest diagnostic imaging repository is underway and will begin benefitting patients across the western parts of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and North Simcoe Muskoka later this year.

 

The GTA West Diagnostic Imaging Repository (DI-r) will allow 10,000 medical professionals across hospital sites in greater Toronto and central Ontario to access, exchange and store patient images such as X-rays, CT scans, ultrasounds and MRIs.

"This is a significant milestone in improving patient care," said Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. "Once complete, approximately 1.5 million patients will have access to a system that results in fewer tests being required, and less time waiting for treatment."

The system will provide a secure, shared repository for storage, retrieval and viewing of diagnostic images such as X-rays, MRIs, and associated documents throughout multiple hospital sites in the greater Toronto and central Ontario (GTA West). The GTA West Project and CGI Group will operate the repository on behalf of 21 health care facilities, across five Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs), representing approximately 39 sites in the GTA and Central Ontario. The five participating LHINs are Toronto Central, Central, Central West, Mississauga Halton and North Simcoe Muskoka.

"This initiative is an integral part of eHealth Ontario's program to build electronic health records for all Ontarians," said Greg A. Reed, President and CEO of eHealth Ontario. "The GTA West DI-r project is the final step towards making all diagnostic imaging in Ontario hospitals digital and sharable between health care providers. This set of electronic records will reduce wait times and lengths of stay by allowing quicker exam reports and clinical decisions by physicians and specialists. Patients will also benefit from decreased travel time and fewer costly and inconvenient transfers since radiologists, referring physicians and specialists across GTA West will be able to view images and results anywhere and anytime."

An agreement was reached between the GTA West DI-r project, CGI Group and the University Health Network (UHN). CGI Group will be responsible for the design, development and management of the shared Diagnostic Imaging repository. UHN, acting as the Transfer Payment Agent, will manage the funding for the GTA West DI-r project and provide the project management.

"The GTA West DI-r will not only increase efficiency within Diagnostic Imaging, it will promote greater clinical collaboration amongst our partner organizations," said Dr. Bob Bell, President and CEO, University Health Network. "Most importantly, clinicians will be able to view a patient's full longitudinal Diagnostic Imaging history, irrespective of where previous images were acquired. This will result in a seamless transition for patients seeking care outside of their local health care facility and undoubtedly improve the quality of their overall care."

Three other Diagnostic Imaging repositories cover the rest of the province, and include the Southwestern Ontario Diagnostic Imaging Network (SWODIN), The Northern and Eastern Ontario Diagnostic Imaging Network (NEODIN), and the Hospital Diagnostic Imaging Repository Services (HDIRS). With the implementation of the GTA West DI-r, as the fourth and final repository, Ontario will have an integrated and interoperable provincial network to share digital images across the province by March 2013.

"Diagnostic Imaging systems are set to yield up to $1 billion in cost savings and efficiencies once in place across Canada thanks to reduced patient transfers, fewer duplicate exams and the elimination of X-ray film," said Richard Alvarez, President and CEO, Canada Health Infoway, the federally-funded organization that invested $25 million in Ontario's initiative. "Ontario has reached a milestone with the launching of the GTA West DI-r, which will go on to benefit patients for generations to come."

To begin the project, two pilot sites have been selected to implement the solution - The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and William Osler Health System in, Brampton. The first of the pilot sites will go live in December.

Quick Facts

  • Wait times for results will be reduced by approximately 30-40 per cent
  • The project is jointly funded by eHealth Ontario and Canada Health Infoway
  • Ontario will have a fully integrated and interoperable provincial network to share digital images across the province by March 2013

eHealth Ontario is the organization responsible for implementing the government's ehealth agenda and creating electronic health records for Ontarians by 2015.

Canada Health Infoway is an independent, not-for-profit organization funded by the federal government. Infoway jointly invests with every province and territory to accelerate the development and adoption of electronic health record projects in Canada.

University Health Network comprises of Toronto General, Toronto Western and Princess Margaret Hospitals. The scope of research and complexity of cases at University Health Network has made it a national and international source for discovery, education and patient care. It has the largest hospital-based research program in Canada.

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For further information please contact:

Nina Keitner
Communications Advisor
eHealth Ontario
416-946-4778
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Anna Velonis

Communications Analyst
University Health Network
416-340-4800 Ext. 8566
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Karen Schmidt
Director, Corporate Communications
Canada Health Infoway
Tel: (416) 595-3167
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