August 31, 2022 – St. John’s, NL: Eastern Health is advising that, as a result of its preliminary review into an issue first identified by Central Health with select mammography results, it has confirmed that some mammograms were being read on viewing workstations that do not meet technical standards for the review of mammography images. The review to date suggests this multi-patient occurrence presents a low risk to patients.
A quality review process has now been started to ensure that mammography images have been read to standard. As a next step, Eastern Health will be reviewing all images that were identified as having been read on a viewing station that was not to technical standard. This review is to ensure that examination reports are accurate.
The preliminary audit to date has identified approximately 3,773 mammography exams, representing approximately 3,667 patients, completed between September 18, 2018 and August 19, 2022, will require further analysis. Through Eastern Health’s ongoing review, if any patients require new or updated reports, Eastern Health will reach out to those patients and their primary care providers to advise them of next steps, if required.
“When this multi-patient occurrence affecting mammogram results was first identified in Central Health, Eastern Health proactively undertook a review of mammogram readings in our health authority on Tuesday, August 23, 2022 to determine if mammograms here were also being read on viewing workstations that do not meet technical standards,” said Kenneth Baird, President and CEO (Interim) of Eastern Health. “We want to assure patients that we are focused on ensuring that the mammograms were viewed on the proper workstations, and not the quality of the mammograms themselves. Eastern Health apologizes for this occurrence and is committed to providing quality service with the safety of our patients first and foremost. We are taking all required steps to address this occurrence in a timely and thorough manner.”
Eastern Health is sending letters to all patients whose images are subject to the review, notifying them of the process. Patients whose examination report does not change as a result of the review will receive a letter from Eastern Health as soon as possible verifying this. We anticipate that this process may take six to eight weeks to complete.
Eastern Health is taking the following steps for those patients whose images show possible diagnostic discrepancies to inform them as soon as possible of next steps within the next six to eight weeks.
- contacting patients’ primary health care provider;
- contacting patients by phone;
- contacting patients with a follow-up letter.
A toll-free line has been set up for those who have questions at 1-833-960-4574 which will be staffed from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday to Friday.
Eastern Health apologizes for this occurrence, and we thank our patients for their patience and understanding while this review is ongoing. Patients with scheduled mammograms are not affected and these mammograms are proceeding according to schedule and will be read to the proper technical standards.
To view a recording of the news conference visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qX79u7G4yog
About Eastern Health
Eastern Health is the largest, integrated health authority in Newfoundland and Labrador employing approximately 13,000 dedicated employees, over 700 medical staff, and is supported by approximately 2,000 volunteers, including members of numerous auxiliaries and fundraising foundations. With an annual budget of approximately $1.6 billion, the authority offers the full continuum of health and community services including public health, long-term care, community services, hospital care and unique provincial programs and services. Serving a population of over 300,000, Eastern Health’s geographic boundaries extend west from St. John’s to Port Blandford including all communities on the Avalon, Burin and Bonavista Peninsulas.