Alberta launches $153.7M medical digital imagery system

Alberta health images to go all digital

Alberta, Canada, formally launched a $153.7 million medical diagnostic imagery project, the largest in the country. It will include digital imagery hubs in the cities of Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer linked by a provincewide network.

Alberta Health and Wellness, the province’s health care agency, will contribute $116.3 million to the project, and Canada Health Infoway, the not-for-profit corporation spearheading the development of electronic health initiatives in Canada, will contribute $37.4 million.

The digital imagery system can capture the results of all radiology exams, including X-rays, computerized tomography scans and magnetic resonance imaging scans. The system will store all the diagnostic tests performed at hospitals and clinics throughout the province -- about 4 million tests a year.

The new system is expected to generate savings of $350 million a year through the sharing and networking of resources, according to Canada Health Infoway.

Richard Alvarez, the organization’s president and chief executive officer, described Alberta’s project as crucial to modernizing Canada’s health care system. It will tie into the province’s electronic health record (EHR) system.

Alberta expects to complete installing the diagnostic imagery system by 2008, the same year it expects to provide EHRs for the province's 3 million residents. Canada Health Infoway plans to provide EHRs for half of the country’s population of 32.2 million people by 2009.

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