The 422-bed Victoria General Hospital (VGH) and Siemens Electric Limited have since 1983 been piloting the implementation
of comprehensive computerized medical imaging, including digital acquisition of diagnostic images,
in British Columbia. Although full PACS is not yet in place at VGH, experience to date habeen used to project
annual cost figures (including capital replacement) for a fully-computerized department. The resulting economic
evaluation has been labelled hypothetical to emphasize that some key cost components were estimated rather
than observed; this paper presents updated cost figures based on recent revisions to proposed departmental equipment
configuration which raised the cost of conventional imaging equipment by $0.3 million* and lowered the cost
of computerized imaging equipment by $0.8 million.
Compared with conventional diagnostic imaging, computerized imaging appears to raise overall annual costs at
VGH by nearly $0.7 million, or 11.6%; this is more favourable than the previous results, which indicated extra
annual costs of $1 million (16.9%). Sensitivity analysis still indicates that all reasonable changes in the
underlying assumptions result in higher costs for computerized imaging than for conventional imaging.
Computerized imaging offers lower radiation exposure to patients, shorter waiting times, and other potential
advantages, but as yet the price of obtaining these benefits remains substantial.