Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of death in women, and women’s healthcare centers that specialize in breast imaging, surgery and treatment represent the offensive line against breast cancer development. As the adage goes, the best defense is a good offense.
That’s why Outpatient Care Technology and its sister magazine, Imaging Technology News, teamed up to shine a klieg light on women’s healthcare centers that make a difference. We asked readers to submit nominations of worthy facilities to recognize based on their achievements in innovation, operational efficiency, customer service and teamwork. From there the editors chose five to recognize as facilities to watch in 2007 and dubbed them “The Most Influential Women’s Centers.” In alphabetical order, here they are.
Baptist Outpatient Center (Miami, FL) Innovation: With eight outpatient facilities, Baptist Outpatient Center uses state-of-the-art digital mammography with CAD, breast ultrasound, breast MRI, stereotactic biopsy and PACS. With digital mammography, images are available instantly, which enables remote reading from any location, and screening mammograms takes only 15 minutes. Patients can leave the facility with a CD of their mammograms to bring to a surgery location or as a copy of their health record.
Operational Efficiency: With digital technology, the center has significantly reduced its callback rate. Throughput has doubled in one year with digital mammography because screening times have shortened from 30 to 15 minutes each, and the site performs 300 mammography exams a day.
Customer Service: Patients appreciate having their screening mammogram completed in 15 minutes and are comforted by the fact that when they speak with their radiologist, they can see their complete health record and previous mammograms. They also know about CAD and feel confident in the second look it provides radiologists. Baptist Outpatient Services has a screening mammography center at a local Macy’s department store.
Teamwork: Administrators and clinicians love working at Baptist and work together to provide the best possible care to its Miami population. The team frequently educates the community about the importance of mammograms and early detection.
2Battlefield Imaging at Hutcheson Medical Center (Ringgold, GA) Innovation: Built as a cutting-edge, completely digital center from inception, Battlefield Imaging uses state-of-the-art screening, diagnostic and invasive breast technologies, including digital mammography with CAD, stereotactic biopsies, breast ultrasound, MRI with CAD, PET/CT for staging, nuclear medicine and Dexa. The syngo RIS/PACS system allows consulting physicians to review images with the click of a mouse. By offering on-site pathology services, surgical intervention, medical and radiation oncology services all in one center, Battlefield makes the transition throughout the care journey smooth for patients.
Operational Efficiency: Battlefield has grown to 800 mammograms a month and from zero referrals to 785 a month in a two-year span.
Customer Service: Designed by breast cancer survivors, Battlefield provides a spa-like atmosphere with private dressing rooms, dedicated pink parking spaces, attractive patient robes and a nutrition café. A dedicated RN breast care coordinator personally brings ice and cinnamon mints to patients after their first chemotherapy treatment.
Teamwork: Administrators and clinicians work closely to educate the community about the importance of mammograms and early detection.
3Elizabeth Jekot, M.D., Breast Imaging Center (Richardson, TX) Innovation: The all-digital Jekot center employs Hologic Selenia systems and a Hologic MultiCare Platinum stereotactic biopsy table. The center also has an ATEC breast biopsy system to perform tissue sampling and a Hologic QDR bone density table.
Operational Efficiency: Immediate image rendering reduces the length of an average visit by half, and it allows image retakes to be completed before patients leave the exam room.
Customer Service: The center places an emphasis on empathy and sensitivity to the emotional challenges patients face.
Teamwork: The center is run by Dr. Elizabeth Jekot, herself a breast cancer survivor, and her sister, Rosanne Jekot. The Jekots maintain close contact with account managers at Hologic to keep the equipment working in top shape.
4Elizabeth Wende Breast Clinic (Rochester, NY) Innovation: The clinic screened 20,000 patients using the new Citra CAD solution from Hologic Inc.’s R2 Technologies. An episode of “The Global Learning Series,” an education-focused, issue-oriented program distributed to public television stations nationwide, was shot at the Wende clinic and distributed in the Spring. The program will educate viewers on important issues and advances regarding mammography management. The clinic has participated in both ACRIN DMIST and ACRIN MRI studies and is involved in research on the use of digital mammography, automated screening using breast ultrasound, breast MRI, CAD and cone-beam breast CT.
Operational Efficiency: Testing, additional views and core biopsies are performed during the same appointment to reduce a woman’s anxiety over waiting for additional appointments, tests and results.
Customer Service: The Wende clinic provides every patient with the full results of her exams before she leaves the clinic. The clinic also performs core Bx, FNA, ultrasound, ductograms, implant mammograms and pre-op localizations.
Teamwork: Success requires administrators and clinicians to work together to deliver the best patient care possible.
5Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital (Grass Valley, CA) Innovation: Performing 50 mammograms daily, Sierra Nevada is completely digital, using digital mammography, CAD, ultrasound, ultrasound biopsy, digital stereotactic and spot imaging, HIS and RIS, and is currently installing MR with breast coil. Technologists work in a single room for increased time with patients, instead of leaving the patient to process film and check image quality.
Operational Efficiency: The center increased throughput from 40 patients a day on three analog systems to 50 patients a day on one digital unit.
Customer Service: With electronic health records, demographic information is ready at check-in and records are sent electronically to the breast imaging center, eliminating paper charts. The center’s nurse navigator provides critical educational and emotional support by working with every positive-diagnosis patient, coordinating care between surgeons, the cancer center and support groups and is available to patients daily.
Teamwork: The community has embraced and supports the center and the quality of care it provides.
Criteria for selecting "The Most Influential Women’s Centers" specializing in breast cancer was as follows:
Innovation – What types of imaging modalities and IT technology does the facility use to screen, diagnose and recommend treatment? What new technology has the facility evaluated, adopted and implemented to optimize patient care?
Operational Efficiency – How has the facility streamlined workflow, improved productivity and increased patient throughput?
Customer Service – What has the facility done to raise the level of patient comfort and satisfaction in terms of paperwork, waiting and face time with clinicians and mental and emotional well-being while at the site?
Teamwork – How have administrators and clinicians worked together to make the facility a rewarding and successful venture?