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One in three imaging systems in Canada is over 10 years old

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | June 01, 2022
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Over 30% of Canada's medical imaging scanners currently in use are ten years or older.
A lack of healthcare investment has caused Canada to fall behind other developed nations in modernizing its imaging fleet, with 35% of the country's working scanners ten years old or older.

In its latest report, Medical Imaging Equipment in Canada 2022, the not-for-profit think tank Conference Board of Canada (CBoC) says new equipment is vital to reducing the large backlog of cases the country is currently facing, which has only been exacerbated by the pandemic. Prior to COVID-19, the average wait time for a CT scan in Canada was 50 to 82 days and for an MR scan, 89 days, both of which exceed a recommended 30-day window.

Additionally, the percentage is beyond what is recommended in the European Coordination Committee on Radiological, Electromedical and Healthcare IT Industry's Golden Rule, which states only 10% of a country's medical imaging equipment should be 10 years old or older.

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“Demand is growing, but our equipment and processes are not keeping up with what is required to diagnose and treat patients,” said Dr. Gilles Soulez, president of the Canadian Association of Radiologists (CAR), in a statement. "This CBoC report clearly shows the need for Canada to make drastic changes to our approach to medical imaging equipment and technology, to keep up with demand and help protect Canadian lives."

The CBoC outline is an update to a previous report published by CAR in 2013, Life Cycle Guidance for Medical Imaging Equipment in Canada, which included guidelines to help providers understand the lifetime and maintenance required for scanners. The CBoC has included a thorough review of updated literature in its own report that discusses significant changes in the health technology sector since 2013 and compares Canada's healthcare system to those of other developed nations.

CAR requested more funding from the federal government in its 2022 budget submission to replace aging medical scanners. It also asked for more research to be conducted around the use of AI to strategically prioritize health, human resources, technology and infrastructure for medical imaging.

Additionally, it requested funding to address severe backlogs created by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a recent survey that CAR conducted, most centers are unable to catch up with the added workload created by the pandemic.

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