Case Study | November 12, 2007

Where Technology and Compassion Come Together: The Breast Center at Sequoia Imaging

For the first time in the center's history, Gordon Ah Tye and Renee Lauck say they are seeing a return on investment

For the first time in the center's history, Gordon Ah Tye and Renee Lauck say they are seeing a return on investment

In 2005, the Breast Center at Sequoia Imaging, part of the Kaweah Delta Health Care District in Visalia, CA, transitioned to a completely digital facility with the installation of two Hologic Selenia systems. Shortly after, they also began providing the MammoPad breast cushion to every patient. This “high-tech, soft- touch” combination proved to be a powerful one, as Sequoia quickly learned.
Increased Capacity
The decision to transition to digital was prompted by the transfer of their breast center, which consolidated all their imaging services into one location. Sequoia had opposed the idea of placing old mammography equipment in a facility that contained state-of-the-art equipment for its other modalities. So they replaced their five analog systems with two digital systems, a change that made Sequoia a little nervous. When the breast center reopened, they faced a two-month backlog of appointments. They wondered if they would ever be able to catch up after going from five machines to just two.
As it turned out, they had no reason to worry. They cleared up their entire backlog within 60 days. The new systems also increased Sequoia’s overall capacity. With digital, images are available and viewable in seconds, eliminating time that was previously spent at the film processor.
“With analog screenings, we were seeing one patient every 30 minutes; one every hour for diagnostics,” said Renee Lauck, manager of Sequoia Imaging. “Now we can see three patients every 20 minutes, while balancing productivity with time to care for the patient.”
Increased Comfort
Shortly after their transition to digital, Sequoia also implemented MammoPad. According to Lauck, the reason they started using MammoPad was the same as the reason they started using digital – because they wanted to provide their patients with the very best service. Sequoia became a Softer Mammogram Provider and began marketing their combined use of digital plus MammoPad through ads that touted their center as the place “where technology and compassion come together.”
“Many women have told me that MammoPad is the reason they came in for their mammogram,” said Lauck. “They’ve seen it on TV, saw our ads or heard it through word of mouth.”
Patients aren’t the only ones who love the pad. Lauck says the technologists were initially apprehensive about adding the cushion to their routine, but their concern quickly faded when they discovered the clinical benefits of MammoPad, such as increased tissue acquisition.
“Now our techs won’t do mammograms without MammoPad,” she said. “The patients are more relaxed, and the pad helps them get more tissue.”
Improved Patient Care All Around
Sequoia’s “high-tech, soft-touch” approach increased their patient volume more than 60 percent. Before they had been seeing 50 to 60 patients a day, and now they see about 80 patients a day, with the option of seeing as many as 100 patients in a single day.
Patients love the combination of digital plus MammoPad because it’s faster and more comfortable, and Sequoia’s patient satisfaction survey results increased as a result.
“I was very impressed,” wrote one patient. “You have done a great job making the whole procedure as comfortable as possible.”
For Sequoia, the digital systems make diagnostic, clinical and financial sense. Digital technology allows for higher patient capacity, increased efficiency and increased reimbursements. For women, digital and MammoPad provide them with the comfort only this combination can offer, which may help bring more women in for this potentially life-saving exam. That makes everyone a winner.

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