The X-Ray Department at Princess Margaret Hospital received and installed new CT Scanners as a part of improvements for the imaging department. Pictured is Dr. Solange Payne, Head of Radiology along with her team. Photos: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff
By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
THE Public Hospitals Authority yesterday unveiled its new Picture Archive and Communication System (PACS) providing public health care institutions in the country with access to digital radiology images.
PACS is a medical imaging technology platform that provides efficient storage and easy access to images. X-ray film is replaced with digital images, a move heralded as a major advancement in radiology and imaging services within the PHA.
Dr Solange Payne, Radiology Department Head, said that new equipment has revolutionised X-rays as patients will no longer have to wait long periods of time to gain information about their scan results. She said: “Gone are the days where we don’t understand (people’s) handwriting... gone are all of that.
“In a click of a button you can get your X-rays.. not only that, the information is with the click of a button. It is right on the wards, all the extra reports will be available for all the doctors on the wards. They don’t have to come down and look for anything anymore. Everything is at the click of a button, all the doctors can look at images on the computer in their offices on the wards, in the operating theatres.
“One of the clear gains for hospitals and patients is that once an image has been acquired on to PACS it cannot be lost, stolen, or misfiled. The images are always available after PACS has been installed, so no patient appointment is cancelled, no clinical decision deferred, no images are repeated because they are missing, and no time is wasted by doctors or other healthcare workers looking for missing films.”
The PACS is primarily used for the storing of images of CTs, ultrasounds, X-rays, mammograms, and fluoroscopy studies.
Mr Andrew Dean, PHA Senior Network Administrator, said the system is very robust and they are impressed with it. Currently all of the department public health clinics are connected to the network allowing all referring physicians to request any type of X-ray scans or scans done at either the South Beach Clinic or at PMH. The wait time to gain access to the information is about five seconds and now available for everybody on the network.
Journalists were invited to observe a demonstration of the new PAC system, including a demonstration of its link with the Rand Memorial Hospital in Grand Bahama.
Dr Tanya Bethel, consultant radiologist at the Rand Memorial Hospital, said the digital system was implemented in June 2018 at the hospital in Freeport, and is connected with the Princess Margaret Hospital in New Providence and other institutions that have access to the PACS.
She reported that the digital archiving system has significantly improved overall efficiency at the radiology department at the hospital.
Dr Bethel said that referring physicians now have the capability of accessing patient’s studies and reports from computers throughout the hospitals as well as clinics, since August/September.
Dr Bethel noted that the system also has voice recognition software that tremendously enhances reporting capabilities.
The consultant radiologist demonstrated how she is able to easily consult with another radiologist at the Princess Margaret Hospital who is also able to view the images taken at RMH in real time.
The PACS is connected and accessible not only at RMH, but also at the Eight Mile Rock Clinic in West Grand Bahama, and the Princess Margaret Hospital, and the South Beach Clinic in New Providence.
Dr Bethel noted the ability to view studies at a site which have been taken at other sites allows for the opportunity to discuss cases across both major institutions for the purpose of obtaining second opinions or assistance with reporting of studies.
• Additional reporting by Riel Major