RHSHC adds f/t MRI, Mobile PET/CT imaging
Thu, 11/17/2022 - 3:23pm admin
Beki Groenwald TPD Staff
CRESCO - Exciting changes are afoot in the radiology department of Regional Health Services of Howard County.
Full Time MRI
MRI imaging is used extensively in a wide variety of departments – from Orthopedics to Neurology to Gastroenterology to sports injuries – so the imaging services are essential and often in high demand. For many years, the hospital’s MRI services have been limited to a mobile MRI that only served patients on Wednesday mornings and part of Saturdays, but that’s all about to change.
Starting Nov. 28, “We have an MRI that’s going to be here all week long,” Mindy Balk, Director of Radiology at RHSHC, said. “It’s still on a truck, but it will be parked here permanently. It will be ours.”
“We’ll be running service Monday through Friday,” Balk added. “We’ll have appointment slots all day long, all week long.”
This is an obvious advantage for patients requiring MRI services and an exciting step forward in quality patient care. “People won’t have to wait,” RHSHC CEO Robin Schluter noted. “They won’t have to come back a different day. We will be able to accommodate people on the day they are here for the most part.”
In addition to a full time MRI imaging services, RHSHC is excited to welcome a mobile PET/CT to their radiological services. PET/CT (Positron Emission Tomography/Computed Tomography) is a fusion of a nuclear medicine study and a CAT scan that is primarily used for cancer patients, particularly in diagnosis.
“Nuclear medicine studies focus on metabolism, function, and cell activity, where CT focuses on the [anatomical] imaging,” Balk explained. “This takes both of those and fuses them together so you get to see where there’s any extra activity on top of the anatomy itself, so it’s very detailed.”
That level of detail shows metabolic changes in the anatomical context of your body and impacts both the diagnoses and the treatment a doctor advises. The PET/CT is also used to help monitor treatment progress by pinpointing effective therapies and allowing for adjustment in the treatment plan for less effective ones. Because the function of cellular activity often precedes physical changes, the PET/CT can also help with early diagnosis.
“Currently, the only places you can go in our region to have this done are Mayo, La Crosse, Waterloo and Mason City.” Balk said. “This is the first one at a smaller hospital in the area.”
Starting Nov. 14, the PET/CT will visit RHSHC once a month. “I’d like to see it come more often,” Balk noted, “as we built up a patient clientele.
“In combination with our strategic planning with Cancer Treatment Centers of America, this is another opportunity for us to keep our care close to home,” Schluter said. “People won’t have to travel for their PET/CT scans, they’ll be able to get it here. And when you’re a cancer patient, PET/CT scans are a pretty frequent test throughout your journey of working with Oncology, so it’s a huge impact to our cancer patients.”
“It’s very exciting,” Balk agreed. “It’s good for patients. The more we can do here, to keep them from having to travel and take time off and impact their lives, the better it is.”