Northern Health received $4.6 million for the purchase of a second CT scanner at Prince George Regional Hospital and chronic disease management Aug. 3.
The funding comes from the $100 million Health Innovation Fund, which was designed to promote leading-edge health care practices in B.C., according to Prince George-Mount Robson MLA Shirley Bond.
“Today is a great news story for health care in general,” Bond said. “A lot of really good foundation work has been done [by Northern Health.] We have a lot of buy in from some great health care professionals. That allows for this grant to build on that foundation.”
The new CT scanner will speed up diagnosis for patients with chest pain by allowing doctors to detect blocked arteries without having to do a conventional angiogram using a catheter. It may mean patients are forced to go to Vancouver for testing.
CT scanners use x-rays to map internal body structures. The new scanner will create a higher-resolution image than the one currently used in Prince George.
The scanner, software and operating costs are expected to be $1.48 million.
The remaining $2.73 million will be used from programs throughout the region to promote better management of chronic illnesses like diabetes, asthma, hepatitis, congestive heart failure and depression. The program will focus on groups, such as the elderly and aboriginal people, who have high rates of chronic disease.
“Chronic diseases are one of the enormous cost drivers in the health care system,” Bond said. “We’re hopefully looking at less visits to the emergency room and fewer patient admitted days.”
Northern Health spokesman Mark Karjaluoto said the Care North chronic disease strategy is based on making it easier to get the service and information needed to manage a chronic disease.
“Instead of a patient having to go from one care provider to the next, we’ve created multi-disciplinary teams,” Karjaluoto said. “The whole point of chronic disease management is you’re going to improve the patient’s health and quality of life. I think this is going to help us add more community services, by being able to offer this alternative service.”