April 26, 2007 — Northwest Center for Congenital Heart Disease has announced the establishment of an imaging network to improve cardiac services provided to patients throughout the Inland Northwest. The new network enables the transmission of an echocardiogram, a moving ultrasound image of the heart, through a secure Internet site from a hospital to an office/home computer.
Hospitals throughout the region now have immediate 24/7 access to cardiologists who specialize in congenital heart disease.
"We are pleased to improve the availability of cardiac services provided in the region," says Dr. Hrair A. Garabedian, senior cardiologist of the Northwest Center for Congenital Heart Disease at the Sacred Heart Children's Hospital. "With our imaging network, we can immediately provide cardiac services to healthcare providers and patients from any location, day or night."
Northwest Center for Congenital Heart Disease of Spokane, WA, has signed a three year service agreement with ConnexMD to provide secure Internet-based imaging network services. ConnexMD's Communicator network allows participating healthcare facilities throughout the Inland Northwest to upload large diagnostic imaging studies/echocardiograms for review by cardiologists in Spokane.
An echocardiogram can be performed in the middle of the night and read by the on-call cardiologist from his/her home or office. With this information the local physician caring for the patient can make informed decisions regarding further patient care.
"We are always on the lookout for new modalities that can benefit the population we serve,” said Dr. Pamela Burg, director of the Echocardiography Laboratory for Northwest Center for Congenital Heart Disease. “With ConnexMD we found a way to be there for our referring physicians and patients when they need us. In the past our access to echocardiograms performed at other hospitals was quite limited. At times an echocardiogram would go unread for 24 to 48 hours while it was being transported by taxi on videotape. This would result in significant delay in the diagnosis of complex cardiac conditions. Children's lives have already been saved by the use of remote access transmission for cardiac echocardiograms allowing for accurate diagnosis of serious cardiac conditions in a timely manner."
"This imaging network greatly improves the access to congenital heart specialists for us and our patients," says Dr. Shakti K. Matta, Medical Director for the Columbia Basin Health Association. "By utilizing the Internet, there is a great improvement in cost effectiveness. As such, even smaller medical centers and hospitals can afford the luxury of enabling their physicians access to cutting edge technology."
Under the agreement, ConnexMD will assist Northwest Center for Congenital Heart Disease expand the Communicator network service to additional facilities in the coming weeks. Local service and support is provided by Diversified Medical Systems of Spokane, WA, a ConnexMD distributor.