By Danny O. Calleja
LEGAZPI CITY, 9Aug2013 – The modernization of public health facilities in Bicol has taken another milestone with the opening of the digital radiology department of the Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital (BRTTH) here.
Inaugurated last Thursday with Albay Gov. Joey Salceda as guest of honor, the facility came as the first of its kind in the region that will cater to the needs of Bicolanos for state-of-the-art services from a government-run health institution.
“The conceptualization of the digital radiology department is a product of a two-year collaborative work with the private sector, Media Archives Phils., Inc., and the public sector — BRTTH, Dept. of Health and the Provincial Government of Albay,” Dr. Rogelio Rivera, the hospital chief, said during the inauguration rites.
The “filmless radiology procedure” that the BRTTH now offers with this facility covers X-ray and CT scan, then ultra sound and mammogram later, Rivera said, explaining that digital radiography is a form of X-ray imaging where digital X-ray sensors are used instead of traditional photographic film.
Its advantages include time efficiency through bypassing chemical processing, the ability to digitally transfer and enhance images and use of less radiation to produce an image of similar contrast to conventional radiography, Rivera said.
“Instead of X-ray film, digital radiography uses a digital image capture device that gives immediate image preview and availability; elimination of costly film-processing steps; a wider dynamic range, which makes it more forgiving for over- and under-exposure; and ability to apply special image processing techniques that enhance overall display of the image,” he added.
The newly opened facility can load 100 images of X-ray and 10 images of CT scan in a day whose results are sent back to the BRTTH within 30 minutes with the Internet reading support of radiologists from Manila or soon abroad, which is a far cry from the three-day result.
The technology of web-based Internet reading has yet to be fully utilized and the next step is for the BRTTH to become the center or hub of connectivity of the different rural centers and hospitals in the Bicol Region.
According to Salceda, this project instilled and promoted public-private partnership as supported by the administration of Pres. Benigno S. Aquino III by way of giving a freehand for every government health regional center, like BRTTH, to find efficient ways and means to effectively implement and link all other hospitals and rural health units through modern-day technology.
“Today we have witnessed an increase of 100 percent in the areas of X-ray and CT scan and with the soon implementation of the ultrasound and mammogram areas of BRTTH, we will be able to cover at least 50 percent of the whole region of Bicol,” the governor said.
This can be done and can be realized by the support of associate doctors, specialists in the fields of medicine and diagnostics in areas even outside the region, he added.
“Our target is: by the year 2014, we should increase by as much as 300 percent the current census that BRTTH has been serving right now and in effect, we will be able to increase the efficiencies of up to 80 percent — making BRTTH the pioneer health care provider in the field of promoting teleradiology, intelligent linkages and universal healthcare in the country,” Salceda said.
Considered as the biggest and most modern tertiary medical facility south of Manila with 500-bed capacity, BRTTH, which is formerly the Albay Provincial Hospital, is also the cancer center and breast care unit in the region that functions in partnership with the East Avenue Medical Center in Quezon City and the Philippine Foundation for Breast Care, Inc.
As the Bicol Cancer Center, BRTTH is equipped with mammography and chemotherapy equipment, apart from the costly radio therapy equipment that treats patient at a very much lower cost than chemotherapy.
These pieces of equipment were provided by the provincial government of Albay under Salceda.
It has also been earlier designated as the Lung and Kidney Center in Bicol. (PNA)