The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto
TOMTEC IN CONGENITAL HEART DISEASE SETTINGS
As a pediatric cardiologist you are not a “flying doctor” but a long-term companion of your small patients. Often, pediatric care covers a time frame of about 18 years. Ranging from birth, or even before, until adulthood. Since patient populations as well as the technological environments are changing and developing, institutions need to make sure that diagnostic results remain accurate over time, meaning, no matter which ultrasound machine is used, which sonographer performs the exam or which facility is involved in the diagnostic procedure, quality needs to remain consistent.
In our specialized Centre, retrospective analyses are quite frequent because we do not always cover the entire treatment path of children with congenital heart diseases. For example, if a patient comes back to us for heart surgery, we need to compare measurement results of previous and current examinations.
Dr. Luc Mertens, Section Head of Echocardiography, Labatt Family Heart Centre at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto says: “In our specialized Centre, retrospective analyses are quite frequent because we do not always cover the entire treatment path of children with congenital heart diseases. For example, if a patient comes back to us for heart surgery, we need to compare measurement results of previous and current examinations."
Valuable in clinical routine and research Having the ability to harmonize image analysis with the software in a clinical setting is part of what Luc Mertens and his team uses TOMTEC for. The Canadian Center has a strong research focus and a large research lab where many longitudinal strain studies are performed on different types of structural heart diseases.
Structured reporting increases consistency Consistency is more than a buzzword when it comes to analyzing ultrasound images. To assure equivalent levels of quality in care, the reporting of results also needs to be standardized.
Therefore, structured reporting focuses on aligning report content and wording which is especially beneficial in comparative studies for congenital heart disease. Structured reporting defines which measurements are performed and how the results are described and presented. Thus the variability between measurement procedures and presentation of the results are minimized which in turn creates more uniformity.
Dr. Luc Mertens provides TOMTEC with his knowledge and expertise. He was key in the development of the pediatric and fetal cardiology reporting templates. These structured templates introduce efficient workflows and precise content which can be auto-populated and is user-configurable. “One of the challenges in developing such a product is that there often is a gap between people programming and people developing such a tool – which leads to products that are too complicated to handle in daily routine.
Luc Mertens led a workshop at the EuroEcho-Imaging 2018 in Milan, Italy.
The Labatt Family Heart Centre at SickKids is a leader in congenital cardiac care. Dr. Mertens and his team are dedicated to the clinical treatment, research and training of the most unique pediatric hearts.