VIHA Board Chair Don Hubbard and VIHA CEO Howard Waldner launch the mobile MRI in to service with technologist Ni-orn Consiglio (above and right).

Mobile MRI comes to Campbell River

The mobile unit is bringing the latest medical imaging technology to Campbell River

VIHA’s new Mobile Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) service has set up shop outside Campbell River Hospital.

Officially launched Oct. 4, the mobile unit is bringing the latest medical imaging technology to the Campbell River, Comox Valley, Duncan and Port Alberni areas.

“The mobile MRI is a great benefit for patients, and VIHA is pleased to bring this service to (these) communities,” said Don Hubbard, VIHA Board Chair. “Most patients will be able to receive their scans in the mobile MRI unit therefore reducing the need for patients to travel to larger centres for diagnostic testing.”

The mobile unit, housed in a specially designed 16-meter-trailer, will spend one to two weeks in each community at the outset and rotate to the next community over a weekend.

The mobile MRI is a significant investment in health care in these communities. Final purchase price for the MRI system including the trailer was approximately $1.9 million while infrastructure costs totaled approximately $1.1 million.

“The funds our regional hospital district invested in this equipment will have a direct benefit to those who live here,” said Claire Moglove, Chair of the Comox Strathcona Regional Hospital District.  “Our region is geographically very large, and having access to MRI technology close to home will improve health care delivery to so many who had to travel great distances before.”

Specially designed parking pads constructed earlier this year at the four acute sites will support the mobile MRI trailer. The MRI system will be operated by VIHA with an annual operating cost of $1.4 million.

“The mobile MRI will have a positive and significant impact on the ability of our local specialists to diagnose and manage injuries and disease,” said Radiologist Valerie Astrope.

The MRI is used to take images of organs and tissues inside the body. Through MRI, radiologists are able to view detailed internal structures of the body which in turn supports the diagnosis of many types of injuries and medical conditions. The use of MRI has increased exponentially in recent years as the technology has improved and become more and more effective in diagnosing injuries and diseases.