Timmins and District Hospital patients now have access to neurosurgeons 24/7

November 12, 2010 (Timmins, ON) –For the first time, patients of the Timmins and District Hospital now have direct access to a neurosurgeon 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through the Emergency Neurosurgery Image Transfer System (ENITS). This essential program enables patients with head trauma or other neurological disorders to receive care close to home, significantly reducing the need for high-risk travel.

“This is an important milestone in improving patient care in Ontario through eHealth initiatives,” said Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. “It means that patients are able to access specialists outside of their community without having to travel. It also means patients will avoid duplicate tests and will spend less time waiting for their results.”

The ENITS initiative was developed to address the recommendations of aneurosurgery expert panel which found that patients were increasingly being referred out of province or out of the country for neurosurgical care because of excessive wait times. The average cost of each of these referrals is estimated at $109,000.

“This program is an integral part of Ontario’s ehealth strategy,” said Greg A. Reed, President and CEO of eHealth Ontario. “ENITS provides the critical infrastructure physicians require to eliminate unnecessary transfers by connecting them to specialized neurosurgeons across the province in real time. This is a perfect example of how collaboration within the healthcare system is changing the way patients receive care.”

ENITS is a centralized, secure, web-based Picture Archiving and Communication System that makes remote neurological consultations easier, faster and more accurate. Referring hospitals across the province ‘push’ head scan images to ENITS where they can be accessed by neurosurgeons anytime, anywhere.

Through the ENITS program, a patient suffering from head trauma presents at the Timmins and District Hospital Emergency Department/Intensive Care Unit. The physician on-call orders a CT scan which is pushed to the ENITS server at the London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC). The physician then contacts CritiCall to arrange a consult with the on-call neurosurgeon. The neurosurgeon receives a request to view the head trauma patient’s CT scan on ENITS and discusses treatment options/transfer recommendations, or both, with the physician. Finally, a decision is made to transfer or retain patient in local acute centre.


“What this means for the patients of the Timmins and District Hospital is better, faster care,” said Carlo De Lorenzi, Director of Critical Services, Timmins and District Hospital. “These investments in technology are representative of the steps our hospital is taking to provide expert, accurate and potentially life-saving care to patients while reducing the need to travel great distances to receive it.”

The Timmins and District Hospital is the 85th acute care hospital to join ENITS. The hospital serves as the hub for 16 smaller centers in a 150KM radius which do not currently have CT scanners.

“The Timmins and District Hospital will now be able to offer patients specialized consultations with on-call neurosurgeons across the province to determine whether or not patient transfer is required,” said Dr. James Rutka, Neurosurgeon, SickKids Hospital. “The consultation process can be life-saving for head injured patients requiring urgent neurosurgical attention, and can facilitate the speed with which they are transferred to a specialized Neurosurgical center.”

Since January 2009, 2047 head trauma neurosurgical cases in Ontario were referred to ENITS and 506 patient transfers have been avoided. The result of this is an estimated savings of more than $50M. The full rollout and deployment of ENITS across the province is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

eHealth Ontario and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care combined have provided $2.3 million to support the development and adoption of ENITS throughout the province, which is part of the Ontario government’s ehealth agenda for a provincial electronic health record system.

Quick Facts

  • Timmins and District Hospital is the 85th acute care hospital to join ENITS
  • eHealth Ontario and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care combined have provided $2.3 million in funding for the program
  • 506 patient transfers avoided to-date
  • Average cost of transfers is estimated at $109,000
  • Estimated savings of more than $50M

eHealth Ontario is the organization responsible for implementing the government’s ehealth agenda and creating an electronic health record for all Ontarians by 2015.

Timmins and District Hospital (T&DH) is dedicated to providing healthcare services that are consistent with the needs of our community and district. Our mission is to provide excellent and compassionate client and family- centered care.

CritiCall is a 24-hour-a-day emergency referral service for physicians across the province. CritiCall links hospitals and medical resources throughout Ontario, to provide strategic healthcare communications solutions anywhere, any time they are needed.

eHealth Ontario Accomplishments

The Government of Ontario has provided eHealth Ontario with the following mandate:

  • To provide ehealth services and related support for the effective and efficient planning, management and delivery of health care in Ontario.
  • To develop ehealth services strategy and operational policy.
  • To protect the privacy of individuals whose personal information or personal health information is collected, transmitted, stored or exchanged by and through the agency, in accordance with privacy legislation.

eHealth Ontario is focusing its efforts on priorities fundamental to building comprehensive electronic health records by 2015.

Current initiatives

Electronic Medical Record (EMR) Adoption Program

  • Almost 5,500 doctors have been funded to adopt electronic medical records to enhance patient care, improve health outcomes and increase patient safety.
  • A year ago, over 3,000 were funded
  • Replacing paper with electronic records means fewer errors and more time spent on patient care, and easier clinical data analysis.
  • Physicians, hospitals, specialists and providers in the circle of care can share information securely, quickly and easily.


  • This year, OTN will deliver more than 90,000 patient visits; patients get care as close to home as possible.
  • In the past year alone, more than 31,000 telemedicine clinical consultations have taken place in northern Ontario.
  • Nearly 3,000 health care professionals in more than 925 sites across the province use the Ontario Telehealth Network (OTN) to deliver care to their patients.
  • Since 2006, Telemedicine has saved approximately 134 million kilometers in patient travel.


  • The Telestroke Program provides stroke patients in remote areas of the province with 24/7 access to life-saving emergency care that they might not receive without this real-time expert neurological assessment.

Emergency Neurosurgery Image Transfer System (ENITS)

  • Neurologists at any one of Ontario’s 13 neurosurgery centres can examine scans 24/7 and assess if a patient with head trauma needs to be transferred to another facility to receive acute care or recommend immediate treatment procedure.
  • Over 500 unnecessary transfers have been avoided to date. Transfers are very risky for patients and they cause significant anxiety for patients’ families. They are also expensive.

Diagnostic Imaging / Picture Archiving and Communications System (DI/PACS)

  • 148 hospitals in Ontario now use digital diagnostic images electronically instead of film.
  • Using DI/PACS avoids the physical transfer of images and duplication of tests, saving time and yielding faster results for patients.
  • Radiation exposure to patients is reduced and health care costs are minimized.
  • For the first time, all 26 hospital entities in the Erie St. Clair and South West Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) are now able to access filmless diagnostic images including x-rays, CT scans and MRIs through the Southwestern Ontario Diagnostic Imaging Network.

Drug Profile Viewer (DPV)

  • DPV displays medication histories in emergency departments, hospital wards and clinics and in-patient pharmacies for the 2.5 million patients who are Ontario Drug Benefit recipients.
  • It enables physicians to identify potential drug interactions, saving lives and ensuring confidence in treatment plans for patients


  • eHealth Ontario launched Canada’s first ePrescribing program at two demonstration sites (Group Health Centre in Sault Ste. Marie and Georgian Bay Family Health Team in Collingwood).
  • ePrescribing improves quality of patient care by giving doctors and pharmacists access to reliable, timely prescription and dispensing information.
  • ePrescribing saves lives and reduces visits to emergency departments and physician offices by preventing adverse drug reactions caused by illegible paper prescriptions.
  • Electronic authentication, authorization and delivery of prescriptions, reduces the potential for prescription fraud and diversion.

Hospital Report Manager (HRM)

  • HRM sends hospital reports within minutes to the physician’s EMR system instead of sending paper reports or faxes.
  • Patients do not wait for information to follow them – physicians have the most up-to-date information about their patient before he or she arrives for an appointment.
  • Patients get more timely access to care and their anxiety while waiting for results and treatment plans is greatly reduced.
  • Over 100 doctors are using the HRM. It can be used between any hospital and physician office using OntarioMD certified EMR systems.

Chronic Disease Management System - Diabetes

  • Diabetes is a chronic disease that is a serious and growing health problem. It is the sixth leading cause of death in Ontario and Canada. Diabetes is a leading cause of cardiovascular disease, amputation, blindness and end-stage renal failure leading to dialysis.
  • In Ontario, more than 1,100,000 people (8.3 per cent of the population) are living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The number is expected to increase by another 734,000 over the next decade to 1.9 million by 2020.
  • Use of the Chronic Disease Management System - Diabetes (CDMS-Diabetes) by health care providers will save Ontarians’ lives, limbs and vision.
  • The Diabetes Registry will help patients and health care providers manage care for Ontarians with diabetes according to recommended guidelines.
  • Following a stringent procurement process, the chosen vendor consortium, (CGI, AxSys, and Endeca) was recently announced.

For further information please contact:

Heather Brown
Communications Advisor,
eHealth Ontario

Kali Garneau
Communications Coordinator
Timmins and District Hospital
705-267-2131 ext. 2030

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