Misplacing X-rays will no longer be a concern for patients in regional Western Australia, with the installation of a new system to store and distribute radiology images.
In a first for regional Western Australian hospitals, the Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS) has been installed at Geraldton Hospital, part of an AU$950,000 upgrade of imaging facilities.
"This is the latest in radiology technology and means that CT scans, ultrasounds, digital angiography and X-rays can be viewed and stored in digital format," WA Health Minister Jim McGinty said in a statement.
"Doctors will be able to view the images on a computer screen rather than on film, which is harder to store and takes time to process," he continued.
Images can be transferred to specialists in Perth, so that local clinicians can consult with their colleagues as both parties look at the images, McGinty said. Scans completed in different hospitals can be viewed by doctors, helping give them a complete patient history. The process of delivering films to doctors around the hospital and at other hospitals will be redundant, the Minister said.
The new system will mean shorter diagnosis times and less time in hospital for patients according to Geraldton Member of the Legislative Assembly, Shane Hill.
Radiology imaging facilities at Broome, Port Hedland, Albany and Kalgoorlie will also see the PACS system installed over the next two years as part of an AU$6.5 million upgrade.