Cutting-edge technology to create world class care and diagnostics at Humber River

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Cherryl Tanteras has hope for the future.

Three years ago, as a newcomer to Canada, Cherryl, 33, arrived in Toronto with a plan:  to work hard, support her mother and two young children living in the Philippines, and eventually bring them to Canada.  That plan quickly changed when she received a shocking diagnosis.

“When my doctor told me I had breast cancer and that it had spread to my lymph nodes I thought I was going to die.  I immediately thought about my children – I was really worried. But my fears were eased by the gentle care I received. Humber River gave me a lot of assurance and I knew they were going to take good care of me.

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Cherryl is one of many patients benefitting from the exceptional care in Humber River’s Medical Imaging Department.  Next year, when the new Humber River Hospital opens its doors, that care will be enhanced by state-of-the-art technology and a Breast Health Centre that will help patients like Cherryl to receive the same quality care, more efficiently.  Unique Portals of Care will facilitate that efficiency, making receiving care safer and easier for patients and their families.

“Our new hospital will have one of the most technologically-advanced diagnostic facilities in the world,” says Dina Longo, HRH Director of Medical Imaging.  “We will be able to navigate our patients through their testing process quickly and easily without them having to travel to different areas in the hospital.  Top-notch imaging quality is going to help our physicians and staff to enhance care in ways we’ve never seen before.”

As part of the Breast Health Centre, the hospital will have two fully digital mammography units with Tomosynthesis technology, a Sensory Suite environment, two dedicated ultrasound units, a bone mineral densitometry unit, a specimen imaging unit and surgical consultation rooms all in one location.

“The idea of coming to one place for diagnosis and treatment is fantastic,” says Dr. Laura Whiteacre, HRH General Surgeon who specializes in breast health.  “This will allow us to diagnose breast cancers much more rapidly, reducing wait times for our patients and ensuring fast, safer and seamless care,” she adds.

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“Congratulations to Humber River for having a centre dedicated to breast health – that’s amazing,” says Dr. Rene Shumak, Radiologist and Breast Imaging Lead for the Central Local Health Integration Network (LHIN).  “Good quality technology is so important in breast health and having a centre that’s has the testing and treatment in one place provides an efficient and one-of-a-kind experience for the patient.”

“We’re focusing on becoming a high-risk diagnostic assessment centre and our Breast Health Centre is an important part of our commitment to patient centred care,” says Longo.  “Working with the latest technology will also allow us to strengthen our relationship with Cancer Care Ontario to ensure we are providing our patients with outstanding, quality care.”

Sensory Suite

Creating an optimal health care experience for women is at the heart of Humber River’s Breast Health Centre.   A big part of that experience comes from the Sensory Suite, designed to stimulate a women’s senses, distracting her from the possible discomfort or anxiety of having a mammogram. Humber River will be one of only a handful of hospitals in Canada to utilize the Sensory Suite technology with the goal of enhancing care for women on many levels.

“Prevention and patient-centred care are key priorities in our Breast Health Centre,” adds Longo. “By implementing the Sensory Suite, we are hoping to encourage women to come for mammograms, and in return, make the experience as pleasant as possible.”

In the Suite, patients have the option of choosing from different scenes using an iPad – seaside, garden or waterfall with gentle complimentary sound – to create an ambiance specific to their interests and comfort levels that will last for the duration of the testing.  With the Sensory Suite, Humber River will be empowering patients to play a leadership role in their own care delivery.

Digital Breast Tomosynthesis

A technology called Digital Breast Tomosynthesis will enhance that care delivery for patients in the Breast Health Centre.

What is Digital Breast Tomosynthesis?

It’s a technology that takes multiple x-ray images of a breast from many angles. The digital data information is then transformed via computer to produce three dimensional images.

“Tomosynthesis is valuable for detecting very small breast tumours, breast cancer in young patients and tumours in dense breast tissue,” said Dr. Russell Blumer, HRH Chief of Radiology.  “It’s a new technology that’s recently been approved for use in Canada, and it’s showing great promise,” he added. “We are excited to be able to offer this cutting-edge technology to our patients and community.”

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“The Breast Centre as a whole is especially wonderful because it’s coming out to the periphery, it’s in a neighbourhood where there are lots of people that live and work and therefore they are going to be able to get their care much closer to home,” added Shumak.

That care isn’t limited to female breast health.  If a male patient requires a breast exam there will be a separate entrance for male patients to enter and exit from the Centre.

In addition to breast health, the new medical imaging department will also be a digital hub for interventional radiology, nuclear medicine and emergency medical imaging – all with fully digital equipment that will keep Humber River at the leading edge at all times.

That new and digital equipment is the result of a unique multi-year technology and service partnership between Humber River and GE Healthcare called a Managed Equipment Services (MES) agreement – the first agreement of its kind in North America.

It’s a flexible and tailored technology and service agreement to provide long term, sustainable access to innovative medical equipment and services.  The MES model is widely used outside Canada and has proven to be successful in a number of countries including the U.K., Germany, Spain and Australia.

Two years ago, Humber River and GE Healthcare announced their 15-year MES agreement that will ensure Humber River’s equipment remains refreshed and on top.  As part of the agreement, GE Healthcare will manage the ongoing acquisition, installation and replacement of medical technology for Humber River and provide maintenance services – for the duration of the agreement – on over 1300 pieces of equipment in the Hospital’s Medical Imaging, Surgical and Emergency Room Departments.

“Having an equipment agreement like this is a huge benefit in a medical imaging department,” said Longo.  “We are really lucky and we look forward to bringing this remarkable care to our community.

Cherryl Tanteras feels lucky to have found such a great and sensitive care team at Humber River.  She is eagerly awaiting the new hospital.

“Flying half way around the world to give your kids a better life is hard.  But I am so thankful to Humber River for extending my life and giving me hope for the future. The new hospital will allow my wonderful care team to help many more people like me.”