Case Study | July 09, 2007

Compassion Plus Technology Equals Victory

For radiologist Dr. Susan Gaskill, victory is the only option.

Dr. Gaskill and Victory rely on Hologic's digital mammography, breast biopsy and osteoporosis assessment systems.

Dr. Gaskill and Victory rely on Hologic's digital mammography, breast biopsy and osteoporosis assessment systems.

Frustrated by the time it took for hospitals in the Bay Area of Houston to acquire technology she felt provided the best possible breast care, Dr. Susan Gaskill mustered her courage, tenacity and vision to open her own breast imaging center in October 2006.
Leaving what she describes as “a nice, comfortable practice” near Houston, Dr. Gaskill commuted to Dallas for close to a year to gain experience with the latest in breast health technologies, including digital mammography. She then brought that knowledge and technology back to her community with the opening of Victory Breast Diagnostics and Women’s Imaging.
From the onset, Dr. Gaskill was clear about the type of technology needed to make Victory a success. As the first fellow in breast imaging at the Susan G. Komen Breast Center at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Dr. Gaskill was accustomed to working with leading-edge cancer detection technology. She felt that her community in the Bay Area deserved the same.
After comparing digital to film-screen, Dr. Gaskill found direct capture digital mammography technology produced superior images. “I felt very strongly from the onset that I wanted direct capture technology. The images were just clearer. I could tell that from a distance, looking at a monitor of the two technologies. That was actually the easy part,” she said.
Creating a comfortable, patient-centric space that optimized workflow and was a pleasant place to work, was a primary objective in designing Victory. In more ways than one, Hologic was part of the Victory team. As a physician with no formal business experience, the prospect of creating an imaging center from scratch was daunting. While Dr. Gaskill’s passion for women’s health kept her motivated, she needed a vendor that could partner with her from financing to service. That’s where Hologic came in. “When you’re starting from the ground up, you have to make a lot of financial decisions and digital is very expensive,” Dr. Gaskill said. “One of the really important factors in my decision was financing the equipment. Hologic was helpful and supportive in helping me find third-party financial assistance.”
Choosing a supplier with a shared focus was also of critical importance. “Hologic is dedicated to breast imaging. When dealing with other vendors, I’ve felt that breast imaging is just not as important as the MRI business, the CT business, or the nuclear medicine business. With Hologic I never felt like a red-headed stepchild,” she asserted.
Victory relies on Hologic technology for several major systems in their breast-imaging suite. In addition to a Selenia digital mammography system and a SecurViewDX diagnostic workstation with R2 CAD, the site has a MultiCare Platinum stereotactic breast biopsy table, Discovery C Bone Density Table, the Suros ATEC breast biopsy device and Suros Sapphire system for MRI guidance breast biopsy.
Dr. Gaskill insists that patients get the very best care when they have access to the most diagnostic tools in one place. “It’s very important that all the modalities are in the breast center with the breast imager. One of my concerns is if the breast MRI is read by a general radiologist in another facility without a state-of-the art mammogram to correlate with. It’s really important that it’s all integrated and done right there together in the breast center.” It’s critical that the breast imager understand the limitations of all three modalities.
In addition to streamlining workflow, digital mammography has been particularly effective when screening patients with dense breast tissue. “I don’t take as many images as I used to because I can see through the dense tissue more clearly. I can see calcifications that are buried in dense tissue much better, and I don’t have to take as many magnification views,” she noted, adding, “The patients are getting less X-ray exposure and they’re getting out faster. So, patients are happier. I don’t call patients back for additional views as often, so I know for sure my recall rate is lower with digital imaging. Therefore, I’m doing fewer benign biopsies, so I’m really happy about that.”
The instant access to images that digital archiving provides is especially convenient. “I love the fact that if a patient wants to check out their films, we can print them hard copies and they can take them with them. I don’t want them to bring them back because we are filmless, and if films are lost or destroyed, it’s okay because we have them stored, locally and off-site” she said.
Dr. Gaskill’s commitment to care and quality of life is equaled by her boundless enthusiasm. “I really am excited about the fact that I have a breast center where the team really works together and we’re all focused on the patient,” she said. “And if we take care of the patients, then we take care of the community. In our waiting room we have a ‘gallery of courage’ with portraits of our cancer patients, not just to honor them, but also to inspire women with hope. I’m really excited about that.”
Victory’s motto is “Comprehensive Care with Compassion,” and Dr. Gaskill and Victory’s Chief Operating Officer, Cheryl Parish, RT (R) (M) share that common vision. “The main mission of our breast center is to bring personalized, comprehensive care to our patients,” Dr. Gaskill said. “We want to treat everybody as a person first, and a patient second. I want everyone who comes through our door to be treated as I would want to be treated. And our mission is to work as a team, with the patient at the center.”
Victory Breast Diagnostics and Women’s Imaging is now successfully bringing big-city excellence and state-of-the-art technology to the women of the Bay Area. “I like the name Victory because it implies winning,” Dr. Gaskill said. “That’s the only option in the fight against breast cancer.”

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