Upgrading For Better Care

Published 7:00 pm Tuesday, January 10, 2012

King’s Daughters Medical Center’s radiologydepartment continues to add new equipment and technology,increasing the services the hospital can offer to localpatients.

    “We are able to do more exams here without sending patients toJackson,” said Kelly Smith, director of radiology.

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    In total, Smith said nine new pieces of equipment have been addedto the radiology department in recent months.

    Two new CT scanners are among the additions. They’ve been at thehospital about three weeks and Smith said their use “hasn’tstopped” since their arrival.

    Smith said CT scanners use X-ray technology, but unlike traditionalX-rays and MRI scans can display soft tissue, bones and bloodvessels in the same image.

    The two new scanners replace the previous CT scanner, providingincreased quality in the images produced.

    KDMC Public Relations Director David Culpepper said the increasedclarity of the new images provides a big benefit to KDMC’sdoctors.

    “That leads to faster diagnosis and faster treatment,” Culpeppersaid. “The surgeons like what they are getting.”

    The hospital’s previous scanner produced 8-slice scans, but the newmachines produce 16- and 64-slice scans.

    Patients can also undergo CT scans faster, now. The previous CTscanner was in the emergency room and ER patients had priority.With two machines, one is in the ER and one in the radiologydepartment.

    Smith said the CT scanners also enable the hospital to performheart scans that give more information than an MRI would give.

    Smith said heart would scans would look for things like calcium inblood vessels and the higher quality images allows this to be donemore successfully.

    Other equipment includes new more portable ultrasound units.

    “We have jumped eight years in technology,” Smith said.

    The hospital also boasts a new bone density unit that allowsdoctors to look for osteoporosis and ensure that borderline casesare not missed.

    Smith said it has been about two years since the hospital got a newbone density scanner.

    The radiology department also houses a new digital radiology room.The room allows the department to process X-rays quicker through adigital workflow that gives instantaneous results and betterimages.

    “It makes me proud to have a room full of new technology,” Smithsaid.

    Smith said installing the new equipment and bringing her staff upto speed on it has been a “challenge,” but one she enjoys.

    “A lot of people think of us as button pushers, but there’s more toit than that,” said Smith, pointing out the need for training andexperience with the new equipment.

    Culpepper described the technological upgrades as a commitment bythe hospital’s administration and board to provide the best carepossible to area residents.

    “The community (has) a choice to stay here,” Culpepper said.”You’re 10 minutes from your back door. In most cases you getresults that day or the next day.”

    Upgrades to equipment and renovations to the building continue tobe in the hospital’s future, Culpepper said.

    “We’re trying to make it so that when you walk in you don’t feellike you’re in a small rural hospital, but you’re in a state of theart facility,” Culpepper said. “But you still get that smallhometown care that’s personalized.”