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Ontario hospitals to have tougher quality control for diagnosic images: minister

TORONTO - Ontario's governing Liberals say hospitals in the province will soon have more rigorous quality control measures for diagnostic images, such as CT scans.

Health Minister Deb Matthews says the province will be rolling out a "physician peer-review program" in all facilities where diagnostic imaging services are provided.

Her spokeswoman says a second doctor will look at random samples of the diagnostic images after they've been assessed by a radiologist.

The move comes after two Toronto-area hospitals discovered that there were possible errors in the reading of more than 3,500 mammograms and CT scans.

Trillium Health Partners were alerted to concerns about one radiologist last March, but only made their worries public more than five months later.

One patient — who has since died — said she had been given a clean bill of health after a CT scan, only to find out later than she had cancer at the time.

After an external review of the more than 3,500 scans at Mississauga Hospital and Queensway Health Centre, Trillium Health said Thursday it found that 11 patients experienced a "clinically significant event."

Eight patients had already been picked up through other testing, but three were identified through the review and are now receiving care, it said.

"We sincerely apologize to patients who experienced a delay in treatment," Trillium president and CEO Michelle DiEmanuele said in a statement.

Trillium said it will bring in a formal peer-review program within its radiology department.

While many hospitals have good quality assurance measures in place, more can be done to strengthen the system, Matthews said.

"Peer review has been found to be an effective method for enhancing safety and accuracy in diagnostic imaging in many jurisdictions around the world," she said.

"Going forward, we will also be looking at additional ways to strengthen health care quality assurance, which may include an accreditation program."

News from © The Canadian Press, 2013
The Canadian Press

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