Improving Patient Outcomes – Calvary Hospital, Bruce ACT

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a proven diagnostic technology providing unparalleled information on a range of cancers for leading to more confident diagnosis and better patient management.  However, Australia has amongst the lowest users of MRI in the developed world (OECD indicator 2011), at 24.1/thousand. This compares with 102.7/thousand in the United States, 97.4/thousand in Turkey, 65.7/thousand in Spain and 49.9/thousand in NZ.

Key stakeholders met at Calvary Hospital on Tuesday 15th October, for the Calvary ACT MRI Health Forum, highlighting the role MRI is playing in cancer diagnosis and management, contribution to surgical and medical specialties, and its impact on cancer care in the ACT region.

The MRI service at Calvary Hospital is provided by Universal Medical Imaging in a Public/Private Partnership.  Senator Zed Seselja commented “Public/Private Partnerships are vital to provide a wide range of services in our Public Health Facilities, and I am thrilled to see world class MRI services available on the North side of Canberra.”

Wayne Armistead, Calvary Hospital CFO “Having MRI on site has saved Calvary significant patient transfer costs, removed significant inconvenience for patients and allowed to Calvary Hospital to provide comprehensive care to patients without the need to refer them off-site.”

Medical Oncologist A/Prof Desmond Yip and Radiation Oncologist Dr Brandon Nguyen provided insight into the role of MRI in making accurate diagnosis for cancer patients.  Prof Yip; “Diagnosis by MRI offers significant improvements over conventional CT scans.  We have demonstrated cases where by the MRI has changed the management of the patient, and saved patients from undergoing surgery which would not have been successful.  This diagnostic information helps avoid unnecessary and expensive surgeries, leaving the surgical resources available for other cases.”  Dr Nguyen went on to demonstrate how MRI allows oncologists to visualise the extent of a lesion more accurately than other imaging modalities.  This is particularly important as leaving only a few cells behind can lead to a recurrence.

Dr Hodo Haxhimolla, Urologist, demonstrated the MRI Guided Prostate Biopsy procedure.  “I commend UMI for providing the first 3.0T MRI in the ACT region, and for introducing MRI Guided Prostate Biopsy.  I should also point out that Dr Jyoti is the only radiologist in the region using the PIRADS scoring system, which utilises a standardised prostate lesion scoring system.  This is vital in operating a comprehensive service, where the radiologist and urologist can work as a team in diagnosing and treating prostate cancer more effectively than the individuals themselves.”

Dr Anneke Blackburn, from the John Curtin School of Medical Research demonstrated her current research in cancer diagnosis and experimental treatments.  Although these are purely research projects, Dr Blackburn is part of an exciting research team and this research contributes to new and improved technologies for cancer patients in the future.

The MRI service at Calvary Hospital is fully operational and provides world class services to Calvary Hospital Inpatients and General Outpatients who have been referred by their respective doctor.