Canadian health care is almost filmless


Canada will be filmless by the end of 2010, according to Dave Wilson, vice-president of Agfa HealthCare Canada, a member of the Agfa-Gevaert Group. "If you look at the Canadian marketplace for PACS and radiology, we are pretty much on the leading edge for saturation from a hospital perspective," he said.

PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication Systems) replaces medical images on film with digital computer generated images that are stored on a computer. Benefits include allowing medical staff to manipulate images, access images remotely, share files immediately with other hospitals and reduce loss or misplacement.

Adoption of PACS remains largely within hospital systems, which implement the systems in areas such as radiology, ultrasound and mammography. "As far as radiology is concerned, I think we are leading the curve. Across Canada, the bulk of the projects are finished or almost finished," said Wilson.

Wilson attributes part of the success to promotion and funding from Canada Health Infoway. "You really have to give a lot of credit to the Infoway funding and what they've done because it has stimulated hospitals to buy PACS and get that implemented," he said.

With the foundation for radiology almost in place, the ability to populate that data into the electronic health system is the next step, Wilson noted. "Canada Health Infoway is driving electronic health records as are a lot of the provincial governments, so I think it's just a matter of time," he said.