September 15, 2022 – St. John’s, NL: Three regional health authorities (Eastern Health, Labrador-Grenfell Health and Western Health) are providing an update on the ongoing mammography review for patients as reported on Wednesday, August 31, 2022. A coordinated quality review process has now been initiated at all three regional health authorities to ensure that mammography images have been viewed on workstations that meet technical standards. Radiologists from across the province are conducting the review.
The review pertains to how the mammography images were viewed and not the quality of the images themselves or the way the exam was conducted. We want to clarify that 5 megapixel monitors are the standard for the review of mammography images, while 3 megapixel monitors are the standard for all other types of images, such as X-rays and CT scans. These occurrences are not a result of the use of defective monitors.
The regional health authorities assure individuals who may be identified in this review that only workstations that meet the technical standards for mammogram interpretation are now being used for the review of mammography images. Current and future mammograms are not affected.
As we have moved through and refined the review process, the three regional health authorities have updated the number of patients affected. This data reflects a reduction in the overall number of patients involved in this review, from approximately 11,751 released on August 31, 2022 to the amended count of 10,883 patients.
|Regional Health Authority||Original number of patients||Amended number of patients|
|Eastern Health||Approximately 3,700||3,665|
|Labrador-Grenfell Health||Approximately 2,095||2,092|
|Western Health||Approximately 5,956||5,126|
The below table outlines the number of mammography patients which have been reviewed requiring no change, as of Wednesday, September 14, 2022. Of the 10,883 patients, 2,362 patients have been reviewed with no change, with six patients who require further follow-up. The number of patients requiring follow-up remains low suggesting this occurrence is a low risk to patients.
|Regional Health Authority||Number of patients reviewed with no change as of Sept. 14, 2022|
The regional health authorities have sent letters to all patients whose images are subject to the review, notifying them of the process for the review of their exam(s). Patients, whose examination report does not change as a result of the review, will receive a letter from the regional health authorities as soon as their mammography exam has been reviewed. This process may take until the end of October to complete.
For those patients whose images show possible discrepancies, the regional health authorities will complete the following steps before the end of October:
- contact patients’ primary health-care provider;
- contact patients by phone;
- contact patients with a follow-up letter outlining next steps.
The regional health authorities apologize to all affected patients for any concern this review has caused. Please be assured that the regional health authorities are taking all the required steps to complete this review in a timely and thorough manner, and are committed to regular communication on this topic.
Patients are encouraged to continue to attend their mammogram appointments. All scheduled mammograms are proceeding and will be read to technical standards. This review has no impact on mammograms that are being completed at this time.
Patients, who may have questions, can call the toll-free number at 1-833-960-4574 between 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday to Friday.
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