The NORrad PACS Project

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NORrad Phase 2


As NORrad continues to gain provincial and national recognition (see News), more and more hospitals across Northern Ontario have shown interest in joining the NORrad partnership.  NORrad's vision of Integrated Health Care has been recognized as the LHIN 13 PACS strategy by the Northern Ontario Information and Communication Technology Plan sponsored by the three Northern Ontario District Health Councils.

PACS has been recognized by Canada Health Infoway as the key asset to construct the Electronic Health Record (EHR).  Ontario has demonstrated both leadership and financial commitment in north eastern Ontario to ensure that this province is a leader in this national priority.

Phase 2 Goals:


The driving force for the expansion towards a NORrad Phase II into the four corners of North Eastern Ontario is all about developing and embracing a new and common vision for the delivery of Diagnostic Imaging and patient care in this vast geography of North Eastern Ontario.  Hopefully, the major components of NORrad Phase I and NORrad Phase II will serve as benchmarks that will be incorporated into the provincial Diagnostic Imaging Strategy.


The proposed expansions would occur at all LHIN 13 Hospitals and at key health care resources including the North Eastern Ontario Regional Cancer Centre and the new Northern Ontario Medical School.

Timmins is currently the hub for Network 13.  Sudbury is the hub for Network 11, Sault Ste Marie for Network 9 and North Bay for Network 6.  Implementation has already commenced at Sudbury’s Laurentian Hospital site.

The NORrad expansion will include the installation of the following equipment and systems at nineteen hospitals plus the Group Health Centre, North Eastern Ontario Regional Cancer Centre (NEORCC) and the new Northern Ontario School of Medicine.

  • Filmless digital x-ray technology replacing a 107 year technology,High speed wide area network connecting all hospitals radiology departments,

  • An electronic archive at the "hub" of each Network holding tens of thousands of radiology images, diagnostic reports and requisitions,

  • A Picture Archive Communications System (PACS) facilitating the transmission of images within each hospital and across the region in a secure manner,

  • A secure internet browser capability permitting authorized physicians and health care professionals the ability to view images and diagnostic reports locally and regionally, and

  • An integration of all of the Hospital Information Systems to create a seamless patient record across north eastern Ontario and beyond.

Proposal Diagrams

Click thumbnails to enlarge


Key Component - EMPI

Healthcare organizations are under significant pressure to provide the highest quality of patient service and medical care in the most cost-effective manner.  Patient care decisions are increasingly becoming dependent upon information contained in and communicated by these electronic systems.  It is fundamental that the health care system and key players like hospitals and health care professionals have the ability to track a patient across multiple facilities, through multiple episodes of care.

An Enterprise Master Patient Identifier (a number unique to every individual) is critical to integrating a healthcare delivery system that ensures availability of health information to all legitimate users.  All patient records would be consolidated or linked in to the EMPI enabling unified cross-facility management of patients’ imaging studies across integrated delivery networks.

Building an accurate Enterprise MPI system is the first step towards the creation of a fully functioning Electronic Health Record that will facilitate the better use of health care resources and improved patient care management in the context of an integrated health care system. NORrad is working with AGFA and Initiate Systems to integrate the EMPI Solution into the NORrad PACS System. Initiate Systems has been selected as the vendor of choice by Canada Infoway as the EMPI Solution for Canada.

NORrad openly offers its assistance by way of sharing experiences and lessons learned to help other organizations with their own preparations for PACS installations.  To learn more about multi-site PACS installations refer to our Archive page, or contact us at

Intended Outcomes

Integrating health care and administrative services, wherever possible, has been a prime objective of Healthcare Networks.  In moving to the next level of integration, Northeastern Ontario hospital networks foresee the advantages of using the expansion of PACS as a regional integration initiative that will lead to other complementary activities including:

  1. Review and integrate strategic and major program to ensure consistency of health care services in north eastern Ontario communities

  2. Develop an agreed upon strategy for the delivery of services and the development of programs at a district hospital and regional level

  3. Identify gaps and duplications in service and work together to provide missing services and rationalize services to eliminate the duplications

  4. Identify, facilitate and assist in special projects to further develop the rationalization and co-ordination of programs among the networks

  5. Encourage and facilitate the effective networking of Management, professional and support groups among the Networks to share information

  6. Create synergy for shared services

  • Committees/task forces of member hospitals which advocate on behalf of the networks, through active participation, to develop and set health policy.

  • Co-ordinate the development of a district and regional data base by accessing and compiling information from existing data bases to ensure the authorized member hospitals/health care professionals have the most current data available for developing future strategies and delivering patient care

  • Enhance the involvement of consumers and other providers in the delivery, planning and development of services through active participation and formal consultation in their respective networks as well as at the regional level for key health care resources

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