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HBDHB to invest in latest radiology technology

12 May 2004

HBDHB to invest in latest radiology technology

Hawke’s Bay District Health Board members today gave the green light to invest in new radiology technology which will see digital x-rays being created and stored electronically, and over time will do away with the need for conventional film-based x-rays.

Board chair, Kevin Atkinson, said the current radiology information system is well out of date, and will be replaced with a new system that will include digital radiology. The computer-based system uses digital technology to capture, store, retrieve and send images such as x-rays, CT scans, ultrasounds, and MRI scans to other users using Telecom’s broadband network. “One of the real benefits is the ability for clinicians to simultaneously view and discuss images immediately with colleagues in another area of the hospital, or on the other side of the world, and request further tests or action immediately.”

“There will be faster access for clinicians wanting to look up a previous x-ray or scan, and this system will do away with the need to manually file and retrieve x-rays which is a time-consuming job.

“For radiologists, they will have immediate access to images, and can report back to other departments, such as the emergency department and new acute assessment unit in a much shorter time-frame. Faster diagnosis and consultation with patients and their GPs will be a real advantage of the new system.

“The key benefit is for patients, who, in acute situations will get a faster more accurate diagnosis due to the quality and immediacy of the new system, which will make images available for the radiologist to report on as soon as the x-ray or scan has been taken.

Digital radiology also removes the need for patients to carry their hard-copy x-rays from one department to another, and will reduce the risk of images being lost in transit from one hospital to another.

Mr Atkinson said Hawke’s Bay was one of only a few DHBs in New Zealand to introduce this new system, known as PACS which stands for Picture Archiving Communication System.

“Hawke’s Bay District Health Board is committed to ensuring any investment in technology is the best that is available and affordable. We believe that by being early adopters and leading the way with new technology this will help attract and retain staff,” Mr Atkinson said.

The Board voted to purchase and implement the solution provided by Telecom Advanced Solutions, working in Partnership with GE Medical Systems.. Part of the solution will be to upgrade the capability and capacity of our telecommunications infrastructure. “Telecom Advanced Solutions will be hosting the system as an off-site Application Service Provider, which means the technology will be housed at a remote site providing secure electronic storage of archived images,“ Kevin Atkinson said.

Telecom chief executive, Theresa Gattung, said Telecom was delighted to be part of this project. “We are hoping this will be the start of a long-term relationship which will provide opportunities for Telecom Advanced Solutions to work alongside Hawke’s Bay District Health Board to trial and develop new health sector and business solutions.

“We will be connecting Hawke’s Bay Hospital and health centres in Napier, Wairoa and Waipukurau via a very high speed data connection which will also be a great asset for telemedicine and their teaching initiatives,” Ms Gattung said.

An average household internet connection is capable of receiving 9.6 kbs (kilobytes per second). We will be installing a 100 Mbps (megabytes per second) system for Hawke’s Bay District Health Board, which will be capable of sending and receiving large image files.

The implementation of the new radiology system will begin immediately. The cost is in excess of $1m, with payment spread over three years.


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