Timely access to a CT scan is critical to diagnose and triage patients with life-threatening illnesses. In BC, only 3% of rural hospitals have access to a local CT scanner, and patients in these communities must often be transferred hundreds of kilometres away for emergent imaging.
A recently published study, led by member Adam Watchorn, investigates how many transfers from Golden and District Hospital were for CT scans over a 1-year time period, and describes the time delays to emergent CT imaging.
This is the first study to track time intervals and characterize inter-facility transfers from a rural to urban hospital in BC.
A large proportion of transfers received CT scans and the delays for emergent CT scans were long. These delays may cause negative outcomes. In 1997 the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians recommended that CT scanners should be more available in rural Canada.
Unfortunately, almost 25 years later we still see a rural-urban disparity in access to CT scans. Future research addressing inter-facility transfers for CT scans and patient outcomes would be helpful for further health policy and services planning.
View the full study in CJEM: Evaluating delays for emergent CT scans from a rural British Columbia hospital.
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