Out with the old, and in with the new CT Scanner

rad-20160303-041A solid year of negotiating and maneuvering between Michener and UHN staff, the Ministry of Health, and the health technology industry will pay off in late February when a 64-slice CT scanner is craned into the 11th floor at 222 St. Patrick Street.

Toshiba is donating a used Aquilion-64 unit that will allow Michener students to learn the imaging protocols that are in current clinical use.

Marc Potvin – a former Radiation Therapy professor and now Manager of Strategic Partnerships, Procurement and Analysis – has been working with Michener’s technology partners for more than a year to replace the old four-slice CT scanner, which was 16 years old and had become unreliable and unserviceable. It was also generations behind what is currently being used in clinical practice. Several companies were willing to help supply the equipment, but the snag was the cost to get it in the building. The unit couldn’t fit in the service elevator, and modifications are needed to the current CT suite to support the more modern technology.

In November, the Ministry of Health approved Michener’s request to fund the installation of a CT scanner. UHN’s Advanced Imaging Education Centre also offered access to their image reconstruction servers, which also saves Michener an estimated $200,000 in upfront costs and $20,000 in annual maintenance costs.

“This is an unexpected but great example of how the integration with UHN is benefitting our students,” says Marc. “I have been exploring options for quite some time with a number of our technology partners, and they were all happy to help us with the equipment. It was the installation and operating costs that prevented us from moving ahead, but thanks to the Ministry and the JDMI team, we were able to break that impasse.”

Nicholas Yim, Radiological Technology faculty and CT expert, was also instrumental in working with Marc on the vendor solutions, and on much of the background and curriculum change required to transition to the new unit.

The removal of the old CT scanner and installation of the new unit will take an estimated three weeks. Marc says the actual craning work is currently scheduled for Saturday, March 25. It will require shutting down parts of St. Patrick Street, removing the cladding and windows of the CT Suite on the 11th floor, removing the old unit and putting in the new one.

In case of a significant weather delay, students will have access to two CT units at Toronto Western Hospital until the installation can take place. Faculty has modified the curriculum over the period when no scanner is available to minimize the impact on students.