A project several years in the making to improve diagnostic imaging services at Ministry Good Samaritan Health Center is now complete.
The end result of this Diagnostic Imaging Extreme Makeover is additional services for Merrill area residents, extended hours and a much needed facelift to the department located on the hospitals first floor.
‘This is a project that has touched every aspect of our department,” said Mary Witte, director of Diagnostic Imaging at Ministry Good Samaritan.
In March, staff began taking appointment requests for bone density testing which represented the final piece of the equipment puzzle to be installed. Using a bone densitometer, physicians can measure patient bone density and follow it over time. If the patient’s bone density is low, or decreases at an abnormally fast rate, the patient may be at risk for osteoporosis. Through changes in diet, exercise habits and/or medication, further deterioration of bone can be prevented.
Over the past several years, Ministry Good Samaritan has upgraded its imaging equipment to include permanent on-site full-field digital mammography, 3D-ultrasound, a new general imaging room and High-Definition Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to go along with Computed Topography Scanning (CT) and a Nuclear Medicine Camera.
Behind the scenes the installation of a complete Radiology Information System (RIS) and Picture Archiving and Communicating System (PACS) links all of the equipment together and connects Ministry Good Samaritan with other facilities in the Ministry Health Care system.
“The improvements of the system and its capabilities are amazing,” added Witte. “It provides faster results and greatly improves the ability of secondary consultations with specialists when needed.”
Equipment upgrades aren’t the only aspect of the project adds Witte. She says the project also provided the opportunity to take a step back and look at everything they were doing to meet the needs of patients and staff at Ministry Good Samaritan.
“We made improvements to work spaces, policies and procedures and adopted enhanced customer service standards to ensure the best possible experience for those who need our services,” said Witte. “These issues have improved care for those who request our services by appointment as well as those who we serve through our emergency department and inpatient unit.”
Ministry Good Samaritan has also added evening hours for digital mammography services on Tuesdays by providing appointments until 7 p.m. for better access for this important method of early detection for women.
Additional staff training has also taken place to provide new capabilities on existing equipment to patients at Ministry Good Samaritan. For example additional training for ultrasound technologists has led to the ability to provide arterial ultrasound testing to better examine blood flow and the risk for blood clots.
“We are delighted in the finished product of our own “Extreme Imaging Makeover” and are thankful to the many people who played key roles in its completion,” said Ministry Good Samaritan president Kris McGarigle. “This is a major investment by Ministry Health care in our facility and staff that will provide dividends for many years to come.”