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Mobile MRI service announced by Vancouver Island Health Authority

Patients on Vancouver Island will soon have improved, locally available access to mobile Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).
The Vancouver Island Health Authority announced Thursday the establishment of mobile MRI services for the Comox Valley, Campbell River, Port Alberni and Duncan, although it's not expected to be operating until late spring or early summer of 2012.
The mobile MRI will be located on specially designed pads in Comox, Campbell River, Port Alberni and the Cowichan Valley, VIHA said in a news release. It will operate 50 weeks per year with two weeks designated for service and maintenance.
“This is great news for patients and families living on the North Island, West Coast and Cowichan Valley,” said Don McRae, MLA for the Comox Valley. “Being closer to home means less travel time which helps reduce stress and that’s a big part of the equation when it comes to your health.”
Over 3,800 MRI scans are planned to be performed by the mobile scanner, amounting to 16.5 per cent of the total 23,000 MRIs that are provided annually in VIHA at this time. The volumes and schedule in each community will be determined based on population size and historical MRI use, VIHA explained.
“The importance of MRI in diagnosing and supporting the treatment of disease has grown rapidly in recent years as the technology has improved,” said Dr. John Mathieson, medical director of medical imaging for VIHA. “A mobile MRI service is a significant addition to VIHA’s medical imaging services and will support better patient care and outcome as well as ensuring our radiologists throughout Vancouver Island have the opportunity to conduct reads on this increasingly important technology.”
Regional hospital districts have expressed interest in bringing these services to their communities. Over the coming weeks, VIHA will discuss funding arrangements with them.
There had been speculation that a news conference Thursday at St. Joseph's General Hospital in Comox was called to announce a new location for a hospital to be built in the Comox Valley.

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