Niagara Health launches new, better integrated diagnostic imaging system

Deputy Chief of Diagnostic Imaging Dr. Amit Mehta. Photo credit: Niagara Health


As part of its ongoing efforts to improve patient care and outcomes via implementation of an integrated, fully digital information system, Niagara Health has launched a new diagnostic imaging platform. 

The software system, called Sectra Enterprise Imaging Solutions, allows healthcare providers in the cardiology, radiology, orthopedic surgery, emergency, and oncology departments to collaborate more efficiently and share resources across all five Niagara Health sites by housing information in a single, easy-to-access location. 

Once fully integrated into Niagara Health’s information system next year, clinicians will be able to use Sectra to read and produce all reports and directly communicate with each other about a patient’s condition and treatment.

The new system will also allow healthcare providers to prioritize cases more easily. 

“We try to do everything as quickly as possible but if we get a deluge of studies, it’s hard to know which to do first. The only way to prioritize these until now was by the time of the study,” said Deputy Chief of Diagnostic Imaging Dr. Amit Mehta. “Going forward, this will allow us to prioritize studies that are the most urgent and that prevents any delays in treatment for those patients.”

“Our goal for anyone coming from the Emergency Department is to interpret their images within an hour or less; strokes within 20 minutes. These are the patients who need treatment as soon as possible.”

The data collected by Sectra, once analyzed, will also enable rolling service improvements throughout the life of the system. 

“The data analytics, which we will be able to mine from the Sectra picture archiving and communication system will include our volumes, report turnaround times and many other key performance indicators,” said Director of Diagnostics Mike Sharma. “This will allow us to monitor our performance and efficiency and to see where improvements can be made.”

Teams at Niagara Health will be able to use Sectra to access and migrate images done elsewhere in Ontario from as far back as 2010. What’s more, clinicians will be able to access the archived images within minutes, instead of days.

“It was always a struggle to obtain prior examinations to do a comparison,” said Dr. Mehta. “Without these prior studies, it would be hard for the radiologist to know if there were changes in a patient’s condition or if things stabilized.”

Sectra will also enable healthcare providers outside of the region to access patient information quickly and easily as the new software, according to Niagara Health, “integrates seamlessly” with regional and provincial digital imaging solutions, helping eliminate duplication and delay.

The new platform is expected to be fully integrated into Niagara Heath’s information system by September 2024.


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