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YARMOUTH, NS – New digital diagnostic imaging equipment at the Yarmouth Regional Hospital is being celebrated for the changes and improvements it will bring to health-care workers and patients.
The new digital radiography unit at the regional hospital replaces aging x-ray equipment whose technology was at the end of its lifespan.
“Diagnostic imaging requires two things to run. It requires a great team, and it requires rock solid, good equipment,” said Chris Connolly, Nova Scotia Health’s Director of Diagnostic Imaging for the Western Zone, during an event at the Yarmouth hospital to celebrate the new equipment.
“The technology in diagnostic imaging, you’d be hard pressed to think of any service that requires its technology more than us to perform its core function. And it is constantly evolving,” he said.
Randy Wallace, district manager of diagnostic imaging with Nova Scotia Health, said the new equipment “is the latest and greatest digital x-ray equipment” on the market.
He said it brings countless benefits, which he listed off during the May 18 event. Some things he highlighted included:
• It will alleviate workplace injuries. The technology uses auto-positioning and auto-tracking, which means the physical maneuvering diagnostic technologists had to do in the past – pulling, turning, moving, etc. – is gone.
• It replaces equipment that was at the end of its technology lifespan.
• It will create a smoother workflow. “You don’t have to leave the room to develop the images anymore, so you’ve always got your eyes on the patient in the room,” he said.
• There is decreased radiation dosage.
• The workflow is also faster, so you can see more patients during a day. This, he said, should also help free up some of the backlog in the emergency department.
“It’s fantastic to have a piece of equipment like this,” Wallace said. “The techs really appreciate the advantages to having the digital equipment. I know patients prefer not to be sitting on the table the extra five or six minutes each time that you develop a picture and then you have to go back and develop it again. It’s got its benefits everywhere.”
Within seconds, Wallace says, images can be viewed.
The Yarmouth Hospital Foundation contributed $700,000 towards the cost of the new equipment and the required renovations to house and operate it.
“A lot of the equipment that we get here at the hospital we would be delayed in getting if it wasn’t for the work that the foundation does and the money the donors give,” Wallace said.
There were many accolades for the hospital foundation – both in the ways it supports the regional hospital and in the way it rallies the community for support as well.
“I especially want to thank our friends of the Yarmouth Hospital Foundation for their dedication and commitment to this hospital, our staff and our physicians,” said Leslie Oliver, the Western Zone Director of Laboratory Services. “The foundation does incredible work to rally our community in providing support for this hospital. We could not do it without your support.”
Fraser Mooney, communications spokesperson with Nova Scotia Health, noted the foundation never says “no.”
“It’s always, ‘How can we do it?’ Oftentimes the foundation comes to us and says, ‘What can we do?’” he said. “The gratitude is very real and very genuine, so thank you.”
Neil LeBlanc, the chair of the Yarmouth Hospital Foundation, called the work of the foundation a collaborative effort and a partnership that includes Nova Scotia Health, the foundation, the donors, health-care staff and the community.
Two years ago the foundation was also the recipient of a very generous $22-million donation from a donor who asked to remain anonymous. LeBlanc said that donation has allowed the hospital foundation to be able to step up to the plate even more so than they could otherwise.
Because of all of what he described, said LeBlanc, “We’ve been able to come through and obviously it brings us to the point where we can have this type of equipment.”
LeBlanc said acquiring new equipment is important for many reasons.
“We know it’s challenging in the health field in both recruiting and being able to provide services to local residents. Having good equipment and being leading edge is important to do, especially in retention and also attraction,” he said. “We’re working hard with the hospital to try and come through as much as possible on your priorities.”
The results are impressive.
“We’ve been in a position to be able to come forward in the last two years over $4.5 million and this year it’s probably going to be $2-to-$3 million that we’re going to be putting in,” said LeBlanc. “We’re putting big dollars in here to try and make Yarmouth Regional Hospital the place to be.”
“We’ve been successful, but it’s a partnership. It isn’t just us,” he added. “It’s our donors and it’s also the workers that are here, the health professionals that work in the hospital. Overall, I think we’re having huge success.”
A major upcoming challenge for the hospital, LeBlanc noted, will be the future redevelopment of the emergency department. That work, which the provincial government has committed to, is aimed at addressing shortcomings of the current emergency department which is cramped and poorly laid out. Everyone is anxious and excited to see the project move forward.
Meanwhile, speaking further to the support of the Yarmouth Hospital Foundation when it comes to new equipment for the hospital, Randy Wallace added, “I know DI (diagnostic imaging) usually has some big-ticket items, but throughout the hospital I know that a lot of the areas couldn’t function without the support of the foundation. There’s no piece of equipment that is too small, or not as important. So, thank you.”
A similar announcement and celebration of digital diagnostic equipment was made the day before at the Roseway Hospital in Shelburne.