Traditionally, hospital corporations have developed, purchased and managed their own information technology, but with technology becoming more and more advanced, the ability to keep up is a challenge.
To ensure that hospitals can technically accommodate continuous quality improvement and enhanced patient care, a number of hospital corporations collaborated to create Hospital Diagnostic Imaging Repository Services Incorporated (HDIRS).
Formed with the founding goal of creating a shared diagnostic imaging repository, HDIRS is managing the development, implementation and operation of a shared system. By working together, HDIRS partners are achieving economies of scale and shared service benefits that could not have been realized independently.
With all members connected to the repository, the infrastructure to enable 38 health facilities to share diagnostic images (such as X-rays and ultrasounds) and reports has been created.
In the first stage of the HDIRS project, eight hospitals replaced film X-rays with digital technology called the picture archiving and communication system (PACS).
As a result of implementing PACS, the delay time between an X-ray being taken, clinicians receiving reports and the patients being treated has been drastically reduced. This is making a critical difference to patient care. In some cases, where every minute counts, the move from film to PACS has eliminated days of delays. Treatment occurs faster, which potentially saves lives and limits health complications.
Looking to the future, the implementation of PACS and the technology that supports HDIRS partner hospitals sharing X-rays has created a foundation upon which other advanced healthcare technologies can be implemented.
According to Nancy Cafik, Director, Diagnostic Imaging, Peterborough Hospital, "The HDIRS repository is the first step towards having an electronic health record."