Ministry Good Samaritan Health Center to Upgrade CT Scanner Capabilities

Patients in need of a Computed Tomography scan (CT) at Ministry Good Samaritan Health Center in Merrill will soon receive the service more quickly and efficiently, thanks to an equipment upgrade.

CT scans utilize X-rays to create detailed images from inside the body. The CT scan is valuable in many clinical presentations such as detection of cancer, trauma, and causes of pain in the chest, abdomen, and head.

Once a remodeling project is completed; work crews will soon begin the process of installing a new Siemens, SOMATOM® Definition AS 128-slice, CT scanner in Ministry Good Samaritan’s diagnostic imaging department. The scanner, along with an innovative FAST CARE operational system helps maximize clinical platforms and provides automation that can potentially improve patient satisfaction. Additionally, the system helps achieve outstanding images at a lower dose through its innovative Combined Applications to Reduce Exposure (CARE).

“This is a significant upgrade to our comprehensive imaging services,” said Joseph Heitz, M.D., a Radiology Merrill radiologist on staff at Ministry Good Samaritan. “It will provide improved image quality and requires less radiation dose with examinations performed in a shorter period of time.”

While the speed is one benefit, accuracy is another. The upgraded CT scanner at Ministry Good Samaritan has the ability to determine the correct radiation dose based on the patient’s size. The dose reduction technology built into the new scanner allows patients to receive a high quality exam at a significantly reduced dose.

“The automation is especially beneficial for larger and smaller patients as the amount of radiation is based on the individual’s size and allows for diagnostic image quality to remain constant from children to adults,” added Heitz.

It’s not common to see an advanced CT scanner in a rural community. “For a critical access hospital like Ministry Good Samaritan to have this caliber of a scanner is tremendous,” said Mary Witte, director of diagnostic and therapeutic services at Ministry Good Samaritan. “This scanner aligns us with the larger facilities in healthcare.”

Witte adds that this project is another benefit of being part of the Ministry Health Care system. Similar CT upgrades were recently completed at Ministry Saint Mary’s in Rhinelander and Ministry Eagle River Memorial Hospital. The collective purchase with Siemens USA, produced significant cost savings and in the end a higher level product for facilities that serve rural areas.

While the focus is on keeping patients first, there are advantages for Ministry’s staff. “The functionality of the new CT scanner is very friendly and allows us to utilize other technologists if needed from across the region, said Witte. 

This project is the latest in a series of imaging upgrades at Ministry Good Samaritan. These include permanent on-site full-field digital mammography, general, vascular and echo ultrasound, bone densomitry, a new general imaging room and high-definition magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to go along with a Nuclear Medicine Camera.

Behind the scenes, 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.

Evening appointments for mammography and additional staff training has also taken place to provide new capabilities on existing equipment for patients who prefer to stay closer to home in Merrill are all part of keeping patients first when it comes to diagnostic imaging at Ministry Good Samaritan.

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