Georgian Radiology Consultants
Specializing in diagnostic imaging, Georgian Radiology Consultants has offered medical imaging services in Simcoe County and the surrounding regions for more than 40 years. Founded in 1972, Georgian Radiology Consultants consists of 11 partners, each with an extensive medical background in radiology to provide critical healthcare access.
“The compilation of our specialized Fellowship training makes our group very unique because we can deliver all forms of diagnostic imaging to Simcoe County,” Drew Schemmer, Clinic Director of Georgian Radiology Consultants, told The Canadian Business Journal. “Myself for example, I am an interventional radiologist, so I use minimal invasive procedures to help people. Other colleagues are more specialized in Mammography, US and/or CT and MR.”
Serving the Greater Barrie area from Georgian Bay General Hospital to with five clinics across the region, Georgian Radiology Consultants has grown its business reach as well as its service offering over the years. As of last year, Georgian Radiology Consultants shifted its business to the next generation of medical technologies, where digital equipment has replaced an antiquated analog system.
Using the Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS), Georgian Radiology Consultants accesses digital images that are then stored and processed on a computer, where they are easily accessible and readable for radiologists.
“Prior to this, film had to be exposed by X-rays and then a processor used chemicals to make the actual Radiograph hardcopy which was sent to the Radiologist to interpret,” Schemmer explained. “We brought in 7 state-of-the-art X-ray plates. For a group of 11 radiologists, with our limited infrastructure, we made something happen that doesn’t even happen in some hospitals, so we are quite proud of that.”
The standard and expectation across Canada is for all patients to have access to digital imaging, as this new technology offers a variety of benefits, from reduced radiation to shorter and more convenient examination times, to an end result of more accurate and detailed X-rays. On the management side, these same advantages exist, as do a host of challenges, from added capital costs of acquiring such technical equipment to a variety of implantation issues, from staff to proper IT equipment.
According to the Ministry of Health, the PACS system removes these challenges to make it more efficient for radiologists to review digital images. However, that is practically not realized as there are far more images now generated per study per patient, with far greater resolution and detail.
“Compared to 10 or 15 years ago, when we performed sonography of a baby’s heart, you could see the heart move and you see rough contours of the aorta or the outflow tracks, but now we are getting to the point where you can almost see the valves in a fetal heart,” Schemmer detailed. “I’m now required to look at those detailed resolute images where previously you never even saw those structures. Overall, it is more complex work requiring more time to read and interpret those images with more responsibility to provide superior patient care.”
With more outpatient diagnostic imaging taking place in private clinics, this has put more pressure on the industry as the baby boomer generation is beginning to more frequently access healthcare services. As a result, the Ministry must recognize that increased funding is needed to sustain and continue advancing diagnostic imaging patient care at the community level. Private clinics perform nearly half of diagnostic imaging in Ontario, and although hospitals and private clinics face similar demands, the key difference is that private clinics do not have access to the same fundraising opportunity to afford new equipment, which creates more challenges in maintaining the highest level of service.
“In the future, if there is public demand for alternate types of healthcare, we have to make sure that we are positioned so that we can respond to that challenge. We are on the cutting-edge of technology so that we can respond to problems as they arise,” Schemmer concluded. “We are not the type of partnership that will allow ourselves to be below the average in terms of healthcare delivery.
“The technology that we are offering has provided such an incredible service that we have done something that some Ontario hospitals haven’t. The Ministry of Health may want to recognize these achievements and reroute funds back into Radiology as the patient population ages. Very rarely does a patient’s illness not require Radiological consultation; Georgian Radiology Consultants offers cutting edge patient care. We are taking that technology so we can to improve healthcare in Simcoe County, and I think we are achieving that.”