Embracing Technology with their whole heart

Dr. Michael Ward


In the world of technology, 10 years is a long time. Looking back a decade ago, cell phones were mainly used for text and email, tablets were just invented and Blockbuster was still a storefront. 

Technology is constantly evolving, helping us become more efficient and communicate better. In health care, it could improve or even save a patient’s life.   

For Faisal Khan, Operations Manager of the Cardiac Care Program and Cardiac Information Technology (CCP) at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), embracing technology isn’t an option – it's essential for cardiac patients.   

This was evident by the use of a 10-year-old, depreciating system used for various heart diagnostic and interventional procedures. The system’s application crashes were frequent, image quality was declining and patient records were not integrated into LHSC’s current hospital information system; making communication between health care providers difficult. The unreliableness of the system often meant procedures were cancelled resulting in longer wait times for treatments. To repair the system, CCP needed a $1.6M upgrade, and fast. 

“We had to rush for this upgrade because the previous system was almost dying,” Faisal described. 

Thanks to the vision and kindness of donors, the CCP began the replacement of the old technology with eight new Mac-Lab™/CardioLab/ComboLab systems in September 2019. With staged rollout occurring through the year, the upgraded software along with new monitors and screens, allows cardiologists to take more accurate, invasive measurements of a patient’s heart, as well as record details of each procedure, and enable shared reporting with the patient’s whole care team.   

The Cardiac Catheterization Lab within the CCP, where cardiologists place catheters into a patient’s heart to do various measurements, requires the Mac-Lab™ system. This records clear images and data to assist physicians in measuring oxygen saturation and blood pressure as well as blockages in the arteries.  

The Arrhythmia Lab in the CCP, which measures and records electrical pathways within the patient’s heart, uses the CardioLab application.  

ComboLab is an integrated system that allows cardiologists to see all types of cardiac measurements in one seamless, powerful recording system. 

“This new technology will help physicians with acquiring better, more accurate measurements which will, in the end, help them make stronger, better clinical decisions,” Faisal said. 

In the Catheterization Lab, LHSC cardiologist and Lawson scientist, Dr. Michael Ward, believes the system is depended upon to help provide high-quality care on a daily basis. “[The system] integrates the whole room and tracks everything that’s done. We wouldn’t have a Catheterization Lab without the Mac-Lab™. It’s just part of it,” Dr. Ward said. “Having the foundation to help fund this is extremely helpful.” 

Faisal is currently working on the next vital steps – the implementation of electronic reporting of invasive procedures and integration with the hospital system. He is leading a project which will link the new Mac-Lab™/CardioLab/ComboLab systems with the hospitals’ existing electronic health record platform by creating an electronic order and report distribution process. The goal is to have this completed by early 2021.   

“Once everything is installed in the invasive labs, the information will flow directly between the hospital information system and the Mac-Lab™/CardioLab/ComboLab systems, and physicians can report the results of patient’s studies within the Mac-Lab™|CardioLab/Combolab” Faisal described.  

With clearer images and a reliable, integrated system, cardiac patients can have confidence knowing their health care teams are diagnosing more accurately.  

The new systems demonstrate how technology can improve patient care. However, it’s only possible because of generous donors like you. 

“This was a huge help for us in moving into a more reliable infrastructure. We were able to move forward quickly with the help of the donors,” says Faisal.