Tuesday 10 November 2020


The TIDES Program - Cook Islands

Report by: Samantha Hunnisett

TIDES - “Teleradiology In Disaster Events, Screening and Second Opinions” lead by Dr Glyn Llewellyn-Jones, a volunteer Radiologist for RAB

The TIDES project connects clinicians in Samoa and the Cook Islands with volunteer radiologists in Australia and New Zealand who provide advice and second opinions on complex or unusual imaging cases. Working on a rotating roster, the radiologists provide pro bono reporting on a regular basis as well as assist during disaster events.

Waisiki Lomalagi is an X-Ray Manager in the Cook Islands and recently shared how the TIDES project is supporting her team.

The Cook Islands is one of the Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICT) which has come a long way in Radiology Services.

The Cook Islands consists of 15 islands of which 13 are inhabited, with a resident population of 14,000.

There are only two radiology departments in the Cook Islands, one on the main island, Rarotonga and the second on largest outer island Aitutaki. Rarotonga has 2 qualified Medical Radiation Technologist's (MRT) and Aitutaki is manned by a locally trained technician.

The Cook Islands has grown its radiology capacity in the past years with the introduction of Ultrasound and Computerized Radiology services to provide the best radiology services for the population but has never had official Radiologist’ support.

The introduction of the TIDES program to the Cook Islands is a game-changer and has taken the radiology support services to another level. TIDES Radiologists reporting has paved the way of ensuring that patients receive the best health care and management. This reporting also provides in-country continuous upskilling for the two local MRT in performance and reporting of ultrasound and general x-rays to be consistent with overseas radiology departments.

The advantage of having the TIDES program is that reported cases can be streamlined into those that can be managed locally and those that need further imaging abroad. It also enables Local Physicians to make critical decisions in patient management. 

Since its inception in August 2020, there have been 30 cases reported by TIDES and 10 of these cases were referred abroad for specialized management. This is another highlight of TIDES assisting the Cook Islands to be more cost-efficient.

The Cook Islands is fortunate and grateful to the TIDES program for supporting our radiology services.