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Yukon Health Goes Digital

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The next time someone breaks a limb in remote Yukon, a diagnosis from Whitehorse General Hospital will be just a click away.

That’s because every community health center in the province is now wired for computed radiology, Yukon’s government announced recently. Computerized radiology units and clinical workstations have been installed in 12 rural health centers and Watson Lake Hospital, and all staff has been trained how to use it.

“This is a huge help for our primary health care nurses in the communities and will tremendously benefit patients in rural Yukon,” Health and Social Services Minister Glenn Hart said in a statement on Jan. 21.

From now on, chest and limb X-Rays taken will be taken digitally in the community clinics, encrypted and beamed over to a database maintained at Whitehorse General, the health ministry said. There an emergency room doctor and a radiologist in Edmonton can view the images. The goal is to reduce the time one must wait for diagnosis, Hart said, “and ensure that treatment occurs in a timely manner.”

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It’s a joint project between Health and Social Services and Whitehorse General, partly funded by Canada Health Infoway, which Yukon health described as a not-for-profit, federally funded organization.

“Advancements in digital diagnostic imaging are closing the geographical barriers in health care, enabling authorized health care professions to provide essential services regardless of where the test was conducted or where the health care provider is located,” Canada Health Infoway president and chief executive officer Richard Alvarez said. “The result is faster diagnosis, allowing treatment to start sooner.”

Canada Health Infoway is the vehicle for funding such projects, helping Canada’s provinces and territories develop and adopt electronic health record projects. The goal is to provide clinicians and patients with information they can use to make health care decisions, while providing secure data transmission.

“Accessing this vital information quickly will help foster a more modern and sustainable health care system for all Canadians,” the Yukon health ministry’s statement concluded.