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Update: Island Health radiology review

October 26, 2017


In April, Island Health announced a review of 529 diagnostic imaging reports (CT scans) from a radiologist who worked as a locum for Island Health at various times between January 2013 and February 2016.

As a precautionary step, Island Health expanded the review to include all the other CT scans performed by this radiologist (1,846) and a review of all mammograms (383) and a sampling of x-rays and ultrasound reports from the same locum radiologist. These diagnostic imaging tests were completed at hospitals and health care centres located in Campbell River, Nanaimo, Ladysmith, Oceanside, Port Alberni, Port Alice, Port McNeil, Port Hardy, Cormorant Island, Comox and Duncan, between January 2013 and February 22, 2016. CT scans and other diagnostic imaging tests done by other radiologists, were not part of this review.

The initial and expanded review of the total 2,375 CT Scans is now complete, and found a discrepancy rate of 15%. Of these, 25 patients required follow-up care. Individual results are being shared with these patients and with referring physicians and these patients are being advised to consult with their physicians to determine if follow-up is needed.

While these potential discrepancies were noted between the original and review interpretations, this does not necessarily mean that the treatment for patients would have been altered or that adverse health impacts may have occurred.
Island Health is also contacting by letter all other patients who had a CT Scan that was a part of this review, to inform them that their CT Scan was reviewed, and no discrepancies were found.

The review of the 383 mammograms and a sampling of ultrasounds and x-rays is not yet complete. Island Health anticipates the review of these diagnostic imaging reports will be completed in the coming weeks. Should a potential error in clinical management be found in any of these reviews, patients will be notified and follow up with the attending physician recommended.

Island Health will be working with the Ministry of Health, and other health authorities, on implementing recommendations from the Wale report, a provincial review of radiology, which was completed in follow up to the issues identified in this case.

A backgrounder follows below.


Media Contacts

Central/North Island Media Contact:
Adrienne Breen
Island Health Communications
250-740-6980

South Island Media Contact:
Meribeth Burton
Island Health Communications
250-519-1815

  

BACKGROUNDER

Review findings

  • Island Health’s review included re-reading the results of 2,375 CT scan reports completed by one locum radiologist for patients at Campbell River Hospital prior to February 22, 2016.
  • This review found a potential significant error in clinical diagnosis in 25 – approximately one per cent - of the 2,375 CT scan reports that were re-read.

Further review:

  • As a precaution, Island Health is also reviewing all mammograms (383) and a sampling of x-rays and ultrasound reports from the same locum radiologist.
  • This review will be completed in the coming weeks.

Diagnostic imaging locations:

  • These diagnostic imaging tests were completed at hospitals and health care centres located in Campbell River, Nanaimo, Ladysmith, Oceanside, Port Alberni, Port Alice, Port McNeil, Port Hardy, Cormorant Island, Comox and Duncan, between January 2013 and February 22, 2016.
  • CT Scans and other diagnostic imaging tests done outside of this timeframe, and by other radiologists, are not part of this expanded review.
  • Individuals who had a diagnostic test after February 22, 2016 are not affected.
  • It is important to note that diagnostic imaging is one tool used by physicians in diagnosis and treatment, and can complement other tests ordered as physicians work with their patients on diagnosis and a treatment plan.

Patient/physician notification:

  • Island Health is now in the process of contacting all patients who had a CT scan reviewed to let patients know whether clinical follow-up is required.
  • Island Health is contacting all physicians whose patient had a potential discrepancy in their CT Scan report.
  • Island Health will be tracking the follow up process to ensure all necessary follow up occurs.