Technology has revolutionized the world and changed the way we live our day to day lives at home, at work and in the community. In the medical profession technology has improved the tools a doctor uses to diagnose a patient and ensure the ultimate service and care for them.
says ten years is the maximum before x-ray equipment basically becomes obsolete. However, changing technology makes new equipment safer for patients and the jobs of hospital staff easier and more efficient.
New generation x-ray equipment (including an advanced general x-ray unit, portable units and c-arms) to manage 26,000 exams annually and to allow imaging in the operating rooms and clinics, will cost G&M $1.05 million but it will be worth every penny. The equipment will play a key role in quality patient care and enhanced hospital service but will not replace the need for CT scans as necessary.
“There is far less radiation with x-ray and it is a fast and cheaper way to look a patient,” said Menard whose department will benefit most from the hospital’s recently launched $10 million capital campaign.
‘The New Age of Care’ will assist to fund state-of-the-art Diagnostic imaging and supporting technology to assist physicians in responding to emergencies that happen daily in South Georgian Bay. Seven immediate needs have been identified including - a picture and communications system - $2.5 million; a world class 160 slice CT Scanner - $2 million; New Generation x-ray Equipment - $1.05 million; an electronic medical record system - $3.5 million; a digital mammography unit - $700,000.; an ultrasound unit - $180,000.; and a bone density unit - $100,000. Help from every sector of the region will be required to reach this goal.
According to G&M Foundation Chair - Robbie Ross, this is the “largest” fundraising campaign ever undertaken by the community.
“It is also the most important because at some time in each of our lives here, we will be touched by the G&M Hospital,” said Ross.
Foundation Executive Director - Jory Pritchard-Kerr says reminders of the challenge will be launched in the four communities of the G&M catchment area urging people to learn more about the equipment and technology the hospital needs to make fast, accurate diagnosis and get the best available care.
Services provided by G&M have grown significantly in the past three years, said Pritchard-Kerr. Patient services statistics from 2009/10 to 2011/12 show the number of x-rays at the hospital increased from 26,923 to 31,756; CT Scans increased from 5,811 to 6,374; pulmonary diagnosis increased 7,879 to 11,269; hip and knee replacements increased from 85 to 135; mammograms increased from 4,511 to 4,889; and the number of births at the hospital went from 509 to 518.
G&M Hospital physicians and staff felt the purchase of state of the art Diagnostic Equipment and supporting technology to be the most significant priority for patient care today and money raised in the campaign will replace aging equipment in several key areas.
The picture and communications system is necessary for the storage, retrieval and display of diagnostic images in a networked environment. This computerized system will provide remote access to patient images and will report the information to authorized users wherever they are located in the province.
The new CT scanner replaces a four slice scanner used by G&M for the past ten years. It is a high resolution, fast piece of equipment that will be safer and easier on patients. It can explore the anatomy in astounding detail.
Menard explained the new larger unit operates with a much lower radiation level and has a longer table to accommodate patients with tubes and also claustrophobic patents.
“The new 160 slice CT scanner is very fast,” said Menard assuring that her techs were very efficient with the existing CT scanner.
The new digital mammography will provide state-of-the-art imaging for rapid diagnosis of breast cancer and increased sensitivity and specificity over current technology. The ultrasound unit is critical to make accurate and timely diagnosis of many illnesses including cancer, thyroid and kidney disease while the bone density unit is necessary to diagnose bone weakness in a growing senior population.
The new electronic medical record system integrates key patient medical to have it readily available to authorized healthcare providers. Staff at the hospital must be able to manage and transmit data information including records and images to places where healthcare decisions are made. The first phase of the record system has already been installed at a cost of $500,000 and other components will be added on. The system was pioneered by local Dr. James Lane to enable physicians remote access of patients records including everything blood tests, medical records, lab results and more.
“This is a major medical upgrade projected to be complete in November 2012,” said department staff Jan Sparling.
The idea for the new capital campaign resulted from a marketing strategy on how to remain visible when there are so many other organizations out there looking for donations. The campaign needs to make people think about whether they would help?
The campaign got off to an amazing start with $5 million in pledges and donations made from strong past corporate supporters and individual donors who realize the importance of having state-of-the-art equipment available at the hospital to provide the ultimate service for full time and seasonal residents, visitors and day trippers who frequent the area.
“The $5 million now has come from donors who have been closest to us and have been working with us for years – we go to them first and only this morning received a $100,000 donation. It takes a long time to work with a person and establish trust. Information on our very closest donors will be released next week,” said Pritchard –Kerr.
“The money received has already replaced some pieces of equipment that are breaking down. We see that as a true emergency but we will never let the hospital get into a position where it can’t operate.”
There are lots of ways that people can get involved including making a donations or pledging a gift over time through an unaddressed mailer sent to each home; participating in a fun event – golf tournament, Wasaga Beach Triathlon, Centurion Cycling, etc.; sponsoring an event participant; hosting your own event; donation pennies to the G&M Penny Bank to collect and donate pennies; naming CGMHF as your ‘Charity of Choice’ for donations in memory of a loved one; or by becoming a volunteer.
To learn more about how you can help visit: www.cgmhf.com; Facebook: Facebook.com/pages/General-and-Marine-Hospital-Foundation; U-Tube: Youtube.com/cgmhf
By Sharon Weatherall