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About Sickkids
About SickKids

January 4, 2012

Imaging success

SickKids and Holland Bloorview launch shared imaging system

Two Toronto paediatric hospitals recently made it easier for clinicians to treat patients.

Diagnostic images and reports can now be shared between The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital through a shared diagnostic imaging system based on the SickKids PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication System) platform.

“Clinicians at Holland Bloorview and SickKids will now have immediate, real-time access to electronic imaging acquired at both hospitals,” says Daniela Crivianu-Gaita, Vice-President and Chief Information Officer at SickKids. “It will be a huge benefit to both organizations and all our patients.”

In 1998, SickKids was one of the first organizations to implement PACS hospital-wide. PACS is an information system used for capturing, manipulating, transferring and archiving medical images.

“Each year, over 2,000 patients are seen jointly by clinicians at SickKids and Holland Bloorview,” says Ellen Charkot, Director of Diagnostic Imaging at SickKids. “Until now, we’ve had to depend on transferring images on film or CD as patients have moved between the two hospitals.”

Charkot points out that physically transferring the files means the process takes longer, is more expensive, makes them vulnerable to loss or damage and can make it difficult to reconcile all of a patient’s information. “With the shared PACS, each patient will now have an integrated patient file, no matter where the images were taken.”

Teams from SickKids and Holland Bloorview worked for over six months to integrate information and communication systems at the two organizations. SickKids also provided training to Holland Bloorview clinicians.

“We are thrilled with the potential for this technology to improve the care we provide to our clients and families,” says Golda Milo-Manson, VP, Medicine and Academic Affairs, Holland Bloorview. “The commitment of teams at both organizations has been instrumental to the success of this initiative.”

One of the challenges, says Charkot, was ensuring that the patient imaging database was accurately indexing the patients between SickKids and Holland Bloorview. “It’s essential that clinicians can trust that all the information in a patient file is relevant to that patient,” says Charkot.

The expanded PACS is the first step of a multi-phase plan that will eventually connect SickKids and Holland Bloorview to the GTA West Diagnostic Imaging Repository, a collection of patients’ diagnostic images. The ultimate goal is to enable a patient’s health-care team to store and access any relevant images and reports at all points during care. The GTA West Diagnostic Imaging Repository also provided some funding to enable this integration project.

Both organizations are already seeing the impact of the expanded PACS. A day after launching the system, a SickKids radiologist was able to view Holland Bloorview new images on a patient – saving time, helping the clinician make a decision and ultimately helping the patient.

“SickKids and Holland Bloorview have an incredibly rich history of collaboration and partnership,” says Crivianu-Gaita. “The expanded PACS system is another way we are working together to directly benefit children’s health in Ontario.”