X-ray equipment at the Wilkie and District Health Centre has been upgraded from film to digital images, supporting quicker diagnosis and improved care for patients.
Completion of the $387,000 digital imaging project was celebrated today at a special event at the facility.
“Our government thanks the Wilkie area community and the health foundation who have worked diligently since 2013 to make this digital x-ray upgrade possible,” said Larry Doke, MLA for Cut Knife-Turtleford, on behalf of Minister Responsible for Rural and Remote Health Warren Kaeding. “Residents will receive their results quickly, with continued access to their x-rays when receiving care in other communities. Strong community support helps our health system meet the need for specialized services across Saskatchewan.”
The project was spearheaded by the Town of Wilkie and the Wilkie and District Health Foundation, with approval from the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA). Through the Foundation, Wilkie and area residents, businesses and organizations contributed $175,000 toward the total cost of the equipment and installation, along with minor renovations in the x-ray department to accommodate the new machine.
The remaining funding of $212,000 was sourced from a generous bequest from the estate of Wilkie area farmer Joseph Zaretzki, to support the needs of residents in the former Poplar Courts long-term care facility (now Wilkie and District Health Centre). Portions of the funds have been used over the years for various projects at the health care site. Remaining dollars were held in trust by the former health region, now Saskatchewan Health Authority.
“The SHA is grateful for the community’s investment in modern digital imaging technology to help us improve patient care and support at the local level. As one organization, our intent is to improve systems so employees and physicians can focus on what they do best. By improving access to medical imaging, we are on the right path of ensuring our province’s hospitals and health centres are able to coordinate their services to ensure patients receive high quality, timely health care, close to home, “said Maria McLaren, SHA Director of Medical Imaging-North.
“This has truly been a community project,” said Bill Sittler, Chairperson of the Wilkie and District Health Foundation. “I thank our local and area residents as well as our corporate donors for their strong financial support. Thank you as well to all those who help with the many fundraisers and events the Foundation holds to secure the dollars we need to fulfill our commitments to projects such as replacement of the old outdated x-ray equipment.”
Dave Zeigler, Mayor of Wilkie, echoed Sittler’s remarks adding, “We are a strong and resourceful community that cares deeply for the health and well-being of our residents. We are proud that up-to-date digital imaging services are available right here at home.”
Digital imaging saves time for patients and health care providers, resulting in patients receiving their diagnostic results quicker than ever before. Digital images can be quickly shared between physicians and specialists across the province. A diagnostic interpretation by a radiologist can be provided within minutes. This eliminates the need to transport film images to be ready by a radiologist, which can take days.
The new digital imaging equipment was purchased and installed in April 2019. The first patient x-ray was taken with it in June 2019.