NYGH Leading the Way on Using Digital Clinical Decision Support Tool to Individualize Patient Care

NYGH's Dr. Ryan Margau posing by a diagnostic imaging machine.

TORONTO [November 3, 2022] - North York General Hospital (NYGH) is expanding the use of iRefer CDS, a customized digital solution created by Toronto based MedCurrent Corporation, that helps physicians make evidence-based decisions to ensure they are ordering the most appropriate MRI or CT scans for their patient’s condition. This is part of NYGH’s commitment to Choosing Wisely, an international program that focuses on improving quality and efficiency by reducing unnecessary tests and treatments. 

Clinical Decision Support (CDS) tools, like iRefer CDS, quickly show referring physicians the best imaging options for their patients by using clinical information and data from the electronic medical record. NYGH was the first hospital in Canada to introduce such a tool for MRI and CT referrals made by physicians within NYGH for patients admitted to the hospital or undergoing treatment in the Emergency Department. 

NYGH has now expanded its use of CDS to include CT and MRI scans requested by physicians who use the Ocean e-Referral Network platform for patients outside of the hospital and in the community—another first in Canada. 

“Ensuring referring practitioners in the community have the information they need so patients can receive an imaging referral that is right for them and at the right time is the goal,” says Dr. Ryan Margau, Chief and Medical Director of Medical Imaging at NYGH. 

Dr. Margau is also co-leading the development of national guidelines through the Canadian Association of Radiologists that will help health care professionals in Canada best integrate imaging referrals into CDS tools, and pave the way for others to use this technology. 

“The adoption of this technology is one of the many reasons North York General recently achieved the highest designation a hospital can attain from Choosing Wisely Canada and further supports our commitment to improving patient care,” says Dr. Donna McRitchie, Vice President, Medical and Academic Affairs.

Since NYGH introduced iRefer CDS in 2020, referring physicians have changed the types of CTs and MRIs ordered in at least seven per cent of cases. In addition to helping determine the best type of CT or MRI study, the tool also helps physicians prioritize patients with the most urgent needs so they can access imaging as quickly as possible.

“We created iRefer CDS to specifically deal with the problem of inappropriate diagnostic imaging in clinical practice and the North York General project has effectively demonstrated the broad benefits to clinicians, patients and the healthcare system in general that can be achieved with CDS”, says Dr. Stephen Herman, Founder and CEO of MedCurrent. 

Using a digital clinical support tool to improve diagnostic imaging is another way North York General is adopting digital solutions to enhance patient safety and health outcomes guided by NYGH’s bold Digital Health Strategy.

North York General Hospital

NYGH is an academic community hospital, affiliated with the University of Toronto, that provides high-quality acute, ambulatory, and long-term care to approximately half a million people across seven sites and those beyond referred to us for specialized care. It was ranked as one of the World’s Best Smart Hospitals 2023 by Newsweek Magazine for adopting advanced technologies for patient care, and as Canada’s top community hospital by Newsweek for the past four years.

For more information, please contact corporate.communications@nygh.on.ca.

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