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NHS releases final report of Radiology Quality Review

Posted Apr 20th, 2016

Niagara Health System is making the final report of the quality review of CT, MRI and mammography exams that was launched last year public today.

Last June, NHS Chief of Staff Dr. Tom Stewart enlisted the services of an expert external review team of radiologists to oversee a review focusing on the work of one radiologist. The review involved 4,189 CT, MRI and mammography exams read by the radiologist between May 2014 and May 2015.

The review was led by Dr. Brian Yemen, an external radiologist and a renowned leader in this area from McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences. A clinical review team made up of NHS physicians and nursing staff was also part of the review process, reviewing patients’ files and determining whether any follow-up care was required in the event any concerns were identified.

The review found that after a rigorous assessment of the exams:

  • There have been no deaths directly related to errors uncovered in the review.
  • No mammography patients were impacted.
  • Three patients - two who had CTs, and one who had an MRI - had a delay in diagnosis or treatment that impacted their health.
  • Any additional patients identified as requiring potential follow-up care were also contacted, either directly or through their physician. All follow-up appointments at the hospital were expedited to care for these patients without delay, and a staff member supported them throughout the process.

“We take our responsibility to provide patients with quality, safe care very seriously, and as a hospital we are committed to continuous learning and improvement,” says Dr. Stewart. “Quality reviews like these are important to ensure we are meeting the mark in every way.”

There is no indication of the need to expand the timeframe of the review. Dr. Yemen wrote in the report that the review has achieved its purpose, and “it is unlikely that further investigation would provide a significant improvement to patient care.”

NHS President Dr. Suzanne Johnston says: “We are deeply sorry for the worry we caused to patients in undertaking this review. I would like to express my appreciation to the community for its patience and understanding. I am very proud of the way our team came together on behalf of our patients and families. We worked very hard to ensure those in our care felt they were as well supported as could be throughout the process.”

NHS has a number of quality assurance processes built into all aspects of our programs and services. This includes a peer review program in our Diagnostic Imaging department in which NHS radiologists randomly review each other’s readings as an added layer of quality control. This program was launched in July 2015 after a number of months of planning.

Our community access line set up during the review will remain open for one week in the event members of the public have questions or concerns related to CT, MRI or mammography exams performed at NHS between May 2014 and May 2015. The direct number is 905-397-1905.

The report from the external quality review is available in full here.

Frequently Asked Questions can be read here.


Media contact: Steven Gallagher, Interim Communications Manager, 905-378-4647, ext. 43879;

Niagara Health System