The Vancouver Island Health Authority received three qualified responses to the RFP. An island-wide selection committee that included radiologist representation from the four communities set to receive mobile MRI service participated in the vender selection. The proposals were evaluated based on technology, image quality, ease of use, user references, service support and price.
“This will be the first system of its kind to be installed in a trailer in North America,” said Dr. John Mathieson, VIHA Medical Director of Medical Imaging. “The image quality is absolutely superb.”
VIHA had anticipated the start date for the mobile service would be summer 2012. However, the vendor must go through an internal certification process before releasing the equipment to ensure quality and safety standards are met. Delivery is now slated for October 1, 2012. The vendor will provide an interim mobile MRI system should there be delays beyond the October 1 delivery date.
“The selection committee unanimously felt it was better to accept a short delay in service start up in order to get the next-generation technology,” said Mathieson. “We wanted to be able to provide as much MRI as possible locally, so that the need for patients to travel to the tertiary centre in Victoria would be limited to a small number of cardiac and neuro cases only.”
The mobile MRI initiative represents a substantial fiscal investment in health care in these communities both in capital costs for the MRI machine itself, associated infrastructure costs for the pads as well as annual operating costs. Final purchase price was approximately $1.9M for the MRI system including the trailer. Infrastructure costs will total approximately $1.1M while operating costs for the remainder of fiscal 2012-13 will be approximately $700,000 and $1.4M in fiscal 2013-14.
Trailer parking locations have been selected and construction of the specially designed parking pads is underway at the four sites. Once operational, the mobile MRI will be scheduled for one to two weeks in each community, and will be relocated to its next destination over a weekend. The MRI facility will provide approximately 3,800 MRI scans annually, and will be operated by VIHA.
MRI is used to take pictures of organs and tissues inside the body. Through MRI, radiologists (physicians who specialize in reading images from technology such as MRI, CT, X-Ray or Ultrasound) are able to view detailed internal structures of the body, which in turn supports the diagnosis of many types of injuries and medical conditions. The use of MRI has increased exponentially in recent years as the technology has improved and become more and more effective in diagnosing injuries and diseases.
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VIHA Communications, 250-739-6303