Toronto, July 15, 2009. For the first time in Ontario’s history, all 148 hospitals are now able to produce and share filmless diagnostic images including x-rays, CT scans and MRIs within their facilities using picture archiving and communications technology.

West Haldimand General Hospital marked a digital milestone by shutting down its x-ray film system and turning on its new digital imaging system. It was the final hospital of 148 hospitals to become technology enabled. The initiative is an integral part of Ontario’s ehealth strategy.

“This is a significant milestone for the way patient care is delivered in the province of Ontario,” said David Caplan, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. “When providers can access images in a digital way, patients can continue to receive care close to home and will spend less time waiting for their results.”

“Doctors will be able to review, diagnose and report on diagnostic imaging tests from anywhere within the diagnostic imaging repository system,” said Ron Sapsford, Acting President and CEO of eHealth Ontario. “This eliminates the need for x-ray films or CDs of patients’ tests being sent by courier between practitioners, provided they are connected.”

As a result of today’s announcements, 12 million digital images, produced annually in Ontario hospitals, will now be stored electronically instead of needing to be printed out and kept in a patient’s file. In addition, patients will spend less time waiting between patient visits and results. In what previously took 48 to 60 hours, a radiologist in any location can now access, read and report on a digital image in just one hour or less.

“We are excited to be fully integrated into the network,” said David Bird, CEO of West Haldimand General Hospital. “We pride ourselves on providing outstanding and innovative care to our patients, and in partnership with Hamilton Health Sciences, today’s announcement enables us to continue to offer quality patient care close to home.”

In addition to today’s announcement at West Haldimand General Hospital, the diagnostic imaging and repository data centres in Thunder Bay and Sudbury opened, enabling the hospitals to share their diagnostic images. This initiative paves the way for 59 hospitals across Northern Ontario to share diagnostic images with each other. When completed in 2011, sharing of images and reports through the network will service almost two million people across 84,000 square kilometers from the Manitoba border in the west to Cornwall and Hawkesbury in the east.

eHealth Ontario, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and the Hospitals are jointly funding the diagnostic imaging initiative with $280 million. The initiative builds towards the implementation of having an electronic health record for all Ontarians by 2015.

For further information please contact:

Heather Brown,
Communications Advisor,
eHealth Ontario

Susan Coe,
Public Relations,
West Haldimand General Hospital
905-768-3311 X 1236


Ontario’s Diagnostic Imaging and Picture Archiving Communication System (DI/PACS)

Diagnostic imaging includes pictures of the body captured by x-ray, ultrasound, MRI and CT used to diagnose medical issues.

The digital imaging network is an integral part of Ontario’s eHealth Strategy.

Benefits include:

  • Patient wait times for results will be significantly reduced by about 30-40 per cent;
  • Patient information can be shared remotely by authorized clinicians from any facility, leading to better care outcomes as a result of decreased time lag for results reporting and clinical interventions;
  • Avoids unnecessary patient transfers by approximately 13,000 a year, reduces costs and improves patient access to health care;
  • Radiologist productivity will improve by 25-35 per cent, leading to health system improvements that are the equivalent to adding 250 more radiologists in Ontario;
  • Greater collaboration among primary care physicians, radiologists and other specialists, leading to better clinical treatments and enhanced knowledge transfer; and,
  • Supports the creation and maintenance of longitudinal patient records, a key element of an interoperable electronic health record targeted to come online by 2015.

By the fall of 2011, 100 per cent of the images taken in the delivery of hospital-base heath care to Ontarians will be digitally stored and shareable among health care providers.


For the first time in Ontario, 148 hospitals are now able to produce and share filmless diagnostic images including x-rays, CT scans and MRIs within their facilities using picture archiving and communications technology.

West Haldimand General Hospital’s x-ray department is the final hospital diagnostic film system to be shut down in Ontario.


The West Haldimand General Hospital opened in March 1964. It is a 33 bed rural community hospital that serves the people of Hagersville, Caledonia, Jarvis, Townsend, Cayuga, Fisherville, Selkirk, Nanticoke, Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nations and Six Nations Reserve of the Grand River Territory.

In addition to its diagnostic imaging services, the hospital also provides:

  • Acute care
  • Complex continuing care
  • 24/7 ER
  • Day surgery
  • Echocardiography
  • Physiotherapy
  • Inpatient and outpatient laboratory services
  • Diabetes / Nutritional counseling
  • Audiology
  • Family Health Team
  • Ophthalmology
  • Senior Support Services
  • Outpatient clinics (Rheumatology, Orthopedic, Gastroenterology, Psychogeriatrics, Gynecology, Pediatrics, Geriatrics, Internal Medicine)

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