Bluewater Health will spend $6 million on new equipment this year

Bluewater Health intends to invest some $6 million in medical equipment and information technology in its next fiscal year, the cost for which will come from a combination of hospital funding and a $2.8 million capital fund raising campaign from the Bluewater Health Foundation.

The proceeds from next year's Dream Home Lottery will be part of the fund raising plan, the money earmarked for a new Magnetic Resonance Imager (MRI) as well as other equipment in the overall Bluewater Health plan.

The importance of the fund raising can't be underestimated, says Kathy Alexander, who heads the foundation. “Tthese costs are not covered by any government grants or subsidies (and this) investment will help the hospital continue to provide the best possible comprehensive care, close to home for residents of Sarnia-Lambton and neighbouring communities.”

Additional medical equipment will be purchased for the Diagnostic Imaging Department, Laboratory, Surgery Program and other clinical areas. In addition, Information Technology (IT) equipment and software will be procured to implement regional IT projects, and other purchases include software upgrades for the Picture Archiving System (PACS) in Diagnostic Imaging and Pharmacy Accudose, and Computers on Wheels for various clinical areas.

Much of the equipment being purchased is on a replacement cycle, says Mike Lapaine, vice president of operations and Bluewater Health COO. “Some equipment needs to be replaced after a certain level of normal use, to maintain our stringent patient safety standards. Other equipment needs to be replaced when technological advancements better address the health needs of our community. Sometimes it is more cost- effective to replace than to repair. Capital planning allows us to implement a replacement cycle that does not place an undue burden on our finances at any one time.”

The capital request was approved by the Board of Directors at its meeting on February 22, 2012.

Chair Bruce Davies said the expenses make good fiscale sense.

“Our hospital requires leading-edge medical equipment and information technology in order to remain a leading healthcare provider, to provide top quality patient care, to recruit and retain top-notch medical professionals, and to participate in regional projects which will allow us to deliver services more efficiently.” 

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