"Radiology clinics give Albertans access to high-quality health care when and where they need it, cutting back on wait times and freeing up resources in hospitals."
What is Radiology?
Radiology is an important medical specialty that involves the creation, development and interpretation of medical imaging tests, and the performance of image guided procedures.
Practiced in hospitals as well as community-based clinics in Alberta, Radiology is an integrated part of the province’s public health care system. At present, Radiologists operate 138 community clinic offices throughout Alberta.
A Radiologist is a physician who specializes in diagnostic imaging. Well educated, Radiologists typically complete at least a four-year undergraduate degree, four more years of Medical School, and will train for an additional five to six years in Radiology, often with supplementary fellowships.
The primary role of a Radiologist is to provide family physicians, other specialities, and their patients with consultation and the official written report for important tests like x-rays, ultrasound, mammograms, CT scans and MRIs. This often includes an expert opinion on how to manage those findings. More and more patients are meeting directly with their Radiologist when receiving a minimally invasive procedure like a biopsy, or a spine injection for pain management.
Since January 1, 2016 Community Radiology clinics across Alberta have completed approximately 0 patient visits.
Value for Albertans
All of the costs associated with providing top-notch health care in community-based Radiology clinics in Alberta are paid for entirely from doctors’ billings, representing a major investment in the public heath care system.
These costs include:
Staff15-20 highly trained staff are needed for each Radiologist in a typical clinic, all of whom are paid only through the billings of that Radiologist.
EquipmentBuilding a specialized clinic space and installing state-of-the-art equipment typically costs between $3-5 million.
Office SpaceLeasing clinic space includes paying all utilities and ensuring upkeep of all these facilities. In many locations, the cost of patient parking is absorbed by the clinic.
MaintainingClinics maintain and replace expensive medical equipment, investing millions in IT infrastructure and covering all expenses while providing necessary supplies.
Benefits of Community Radiology
Community clinics are instrumental to providing quality care to all Albertans. The clinics use state of the art medical imaging equipment and computer systems to send results to the same health information network that hospitals and family medicine clinics have access to (Netcare). This ensures that all of a patient’s doctors have seamless access to important test information from the same electronic source.
Community clinics are integrated into important programs throughout the province and work closely with AHS to provide the Alberta Breast Cancer Screening Program, as well as pregnancy and liver cancer screening, assist University departments with medical research, and provide teaching to NAIT and SAIT students. All community radiology clinics in the province adhere to rigorous standards maintained by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta, and the Canadian Association of Radiologists.
The numbers are impressive. Each day in Alberta, community clinics perform 14,000 diagnostic imaging procedures, allowing a higher proportion of patients to receive their tests outside the hospital than in any other region in the country. Community clinics offer patients shorter wait times than we see for CT and MRI scans in the hospital and feature calm, welcoming environments with convenient locations that are easily accessible. The majority of clinics in Alberta also provide patients with free parking.