Improving health care

Darrell Cole
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Growing Care Campaign helps fund echocardiogram

UPPER NAPPAN - A new echocardiogram is making a huge difference in patient care at the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre.

Improving health care

UPPER NAPPAN - A new echocardiogram is making a huge difference in patient care at the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre.

"Having a modern echocardiogram is essential to the practice of community cardiology," internist Dr. Scott Bowen said. "Without the campaign we would not have this important piece of equipment."

The echocardiogram, purchased in part from funding from the Growing Care Campaign, was installed nearly a year ago and has helped specialists there with their diagnosis and treatment of cardiac patients.

"Any piece of medical equipment is continually adapting and is improving," Dr. Bowen said. "In order to provide a standard of care you have to keep up with the technology. The technology of this machine is advanced, it has more capabilities, the pictures are better and it's more user friendly."

Along with improving patient care, Bowen said it provides better echocardiographic diagnosis in that specialists are able to see things now they weren't able to see with older technology.

"That translates into more accurate diagnosis and better patient care and better treatment," he said.

The province provided $270,000 of the $350,000 cost with the campaign providing the remaining $80,000.

With the old echocardiogram, technicians had to make a VHS tape of a procedure and manually take it to the specialist to read it. The new one is completely digital in that it's sent over the hospital's electronic network directly to a reading station.

"It's definitely more efficient," Bowen said, adding the hospital also has a full-time echo technician.

Foundation managing director Joe Gauthier compared purchasing the new echocardiogram to going from an audiotape to an MP3 in that technology is leaps and bounds ahead of what the hospital had before.

"This is important because with an aging population like we have in Cumberland County you get a higher incidence of heart disease," Gauthier said. "It's important we have the most modern equipment to diagnose this."

Gauthier said the remaining $250,000 needed to achieve the $2.49-million campaign goal will be used to purchase a routine ultrasound machine that will benefit patients undergoing investigation for abdominal and breast cancer, examinations of extremities for blood clots, thyroid conditions and pregnancy.

Organizations: Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre

Geographic location: UPPER NAPPAN, Cumberland County

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