Maternity hospital’s X-rays go digital

Obstretrician Dr Saadiqa Allie, left, and assistant director in radiography Donéll van Heerden view an X-ray on the new digital archiving system.

The Mowbray Maternity Hospital has new, quicker way to capture and archive X-rays.

The Picture Archiving Communication System (PACS), funded by the provincial health department, was unveiled last Wednesday..

It replaces the hospital’s old analogue way of capturing and archiving X-rays.

“We were still using the old X-ray film with chemicals, and X-rays were processed in a dark room,” said Donéll van Heerden, the assistant director of radiography.

The digital process is much faster.

“When working on the old system, we sometimes do one X-ray and then see it did not capture properly. This means we have to do another X-ray with the patient.”

Post-imaging work can be done on the digital X-rays, and doctors have immediate access to them once they are loaded on the system.

“It is even more efficient if we need an opinion from specialists from other hospitals, where they will log into our system and they can share their opinions while we still have the patient,” Ms Van Heerden.

Patients transferred elsewhere will not need repeat X-rays, reducing their radiation exposure.

In the past, staff had to put the X-rays in an envelope and send them to the other hospitals for an opinion. “The new system will save time and patients will benefit from it,” Ms Van Heerden said.

According to the provincial health department’s PACS programme co-ordinator, Dionne Thompson, the new system uses a photo-stimulated luminescence imaging plate instead of X-ray film.

“The X-ray image can be viewed on the PACS system by any hospital employee or employees at other health facilities who have authorised access to the system,” she said.

The hospital’s CEO, Janine Joemat, said the new technology would improve patient care. “We take pride in providing evidence-based care that is appropriate and relevant.”

At the unveiling of the new X-ray digital archiving system, from left, are assistant director in radiography Donéll van Heerden, sonographer Cherylene Hendrics, deputy director in finance James Williams, assistant director in finance Elton Swanepoel, paediatrician Dr Max Kroon, obstetrician Dr Saadiqa Allie, PACS programme co-ordinator Dionne Thompson and hospital CEO Janine Joemat.