This week I had a chance to visit our imaging department, often referred to as “radiology.” This department is certainly one of the “high tech” and very expensive departments at GRMC. It is truly amazing to see what amazing progress there has been over the years in the technology of looking inside our bodies. I watched an abdominal CT scan, upper GI, and Venus Doppler (ultrasound) study. One can’t help but be impressed with how clear the images are and the information now available to our physicians and mid-level providers in making diagnosis and treatment decisions.
As impressive as the machines are, it is the skilled and knowledgeable people working the machines that makes this also a “high touch” department. Obviously, patients and their family members are often worried about what might be wrong when going through these studies. They might be experiencing pain or drinking icky stuff that can also lead to anxiety. Some tests can take several hours. What I observed was a talented team of people working together to take expert pictures while doing so in a courteous and compassionate manner. I had a chance to spend time with Gina, Regina, Kathy, and Terry – all sensational members of the GRMC team!
One of the key members of the team is the radiologist. GRMC is blessed to have an excellent relationship with Iowa Radiology. Several of the radiologists from this large group of doctors based in Des Moines view our images daily for GRMC. Using something called PACS, they now “read” all the studies on computer and the x-ray film is a thing of the past. Literally minutes after the exam is completed a radiologist reviews the exam and is able to offer a report electronically to the referring physician and ultimately the patient. Really cool stuff.
I was reminiscing with one of the tech, who has been at GRMC for 18 years, about the days when stacks of films were piled in the radiologist offices waiting to be read. We would have to store the film and make copies for referring physicians or patients. Those certainly were not the “good old days”!
As we prepare to bring a new MRI unit into the department, it is great to look around the GRMC imaging department and marvel at what modern medicine is now capable of showing. It will be very interesting to see what the next 10 to 20 years will bring in our capabilities to look inside our bodies!
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