HSA getting CT scanner

Imagine a machine that takes 3-D images of nearly every organ in the body in seconds flat. Sound impossible? It’s not. In fact, it’s the next generation of computed tomography scanning – and it’s being installed at the Cayman Islands Hospital.

The technology, also known as 64-slice CT scanning, offers the most detailed imaging possible and does so in a very short period of time. This translates to faster results, more accurate diagnoses and rapid treatment.

The device can be used to diagnose neurological, gastrointestinal, lung, bone, cardiac and other conditions. ‘The ability to diagnose injury and disease with this exciting new scanner is amazing’ said Dr. Greg Hoeksema, HSA medical director.

‘Through the eyes of this device, we can now see remarkable details. This advantage will significantly improve both early diagnosis and treatment options; and since the 64-slice scanner is a non-invasive tool, it provides the safest diagnosis as well,’ he explained.

In a press release, the HSA said the hospital will be the only medical facility on island to acquire the technology.

Mr. Hoeksema said that while the installation will result in some temporary inconvenience to patients due to rescheduling of appointments and closure of certain areas of the Radiology Department to facilitate the movement of heavy equipment, every effort has been made to make the transition as unobtrusive as possible.

‘All previously scheduled procedures have been brought forward and contingency arrangements have been made with Chrissie Tomlinson Memorial Hospital to provide support for any emergencies during the brief period of removal of the old unit and installation of the new CT scanner’, said Radiology Manager Mr. Bill Carter.

Installation of the scanner began on 25 September and is expected to be ready for use by the end of this week.

Radiologist Dr. Elaine Bogle-Taylor is excited about the acquisition and the patient care advantages it presents.

‘Because we can quickly access tiny anatomical details, our team can better understand the injuries and pathology that patients experience, access those abnormal areas more quickly and provide potentially life-saving treatment. The result is more lives saved,’ she said.

With the addition of the new CT scanner to the range of medical technology at the Cayman Islands Hospital, Mr. Hoeksema foresees even further enhancement and expansion of important patient care services such as virtual colonoscopy, cardiac CT, CT angiography and dentascans.

The new CT scanner replaces a machine that the HSA has been using for the past 10 years.

Other recent technological enhancements at the Cayman Islands Hospital include the addition of a new Picture Archiving and Communications Systems that digitally acquires, stores and retrieves patient studies.

Images acquired are immediately sent to a computer where they are linked to a patient’s electronic file, complete with the report by the radiologist attached. Radiologists and physicians can view images on special high resolution monitors located throughout the hospital which can be adjusted by the viewer to give even better detail than ever was available on film; this allows physicians to make decisions and begin patient treatment much more quickly. This advanced digital technology replaces the old x-ray films and creates images, such as those from X-Rays, Ultrasound, CT or MRI exams, directly on electronic plates.

The new technology will also benefit patients in the Sister Islands once the system is installed there. Physicians will now be able to consult with their colleagues on Grand Cayman for second opinions via secure electronic data link on diagnostic images requiring further evaluation. This will reduce the inconvenience and expense of patients in the Sister Islands who would previously be required to travel to Grand Cayman for consultation.

HSA Acting CEO Lizzette Yearwood said ‘the introduction of the new technology will provide significant benefits to enhance the delivery of health care. The staff of the Cayman Islands Hospital is committed to the delivery of quality patient cantered care.’

‘We are encouraged by the many positive initiatives being undertaken and will continue to work assiduously to ensure a viable, high quality, efficient and customer friendly health care system for the people of the Cayman Islands’ Ms Yearwood said.. ‘The next exciting innovation will be the acquisition of a new, advanced MRI in 2009.’