Imaging Options Now Available In Eagle River
Providence Imaging Center (PIC) is pleased to announce the opening of its first satellite clinic, in order to provide imaging services to residents in the growing Eagle River community. PIC opened its doors in September 2008, on the first floor of the new Providence Building located across from SBS and Fred Meyer, at 17101 Snowmobile Lane. Advantages of this new location are ample parking, as well as access to laboratory services in a shared lobby. Open Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. (closed for lunch from 12 p.m-1 p.m.), services include:
- Digital x-ray (no appointment needed)
- CT or "Cat" Scan
- Twice monthly mobile digital mammography in the coach, for screening patients
To schedule an appointment at this location, simply fax an order to (907) 212-5828. Call us during scheduling hours (M-F, 7 a.m.-6 p.m.) at (907) 212-3151. To reach the front desk directly, dial (907) 726-6610. Handy Eagle River maps are available on our updated direction cards.
Convenient Saturday Hours for Patients
Who is able to easily escape from the business of their daily lives to get a necessary imaging test? Not many! We are proud to offer Saturday hours at our Anchorage location, Providence Alaska Medical Center (PAMC). Imaging exams offered on Saturday include:
- Digital screening mammograms
- Digital x-ray (no appointment needed)
- Bone density (DXA) exams
- MRI (routine studies)
Many of these exams are also available with evening appointments. Saturday hours are 8 a.m.-2 p.m. For scheduled tests, please remember to call Mon.-Fri., 7 a.m.-6 p.m.
1.5 vs. 3.0 Tesla MRI: Which Field Strength is Best for my Patient?
When more and more facilities lay claim to having the "most advanced MRI technology available anywhere", how do you know whom to believe? Is it all about magnet muscle, or is there something else to consider when choosing where to send a patient? We believe there is. In June 2008, PIC decided to replace one of our two 1.5 T scanners (T stands for "Tesla", a measure of magnetic strength) with a 3.0 T magnet. The 3.0 T brings with it the newest GE technology, including the ability to perform studies simply not possible on the 1.5 T, including some of the following not currently offered anywhere else in Anchorage:
Diffusion Tensor Imaging
Some functional applications in brain imaging
This pairing of 1.5 and 3.0 T magnets means that for the first time in Alaska, one Imaging Center has two different high-field MR scanners in one location, each with their own strengths. Your patients are now directed to the machine that will best visualize the area in question.
So does every patient need a 3 Tesla MRI? Isn't a magnet twice as strong always twice as good at everything? The short answer is no. There are several factors to consider, including diagnosis, area to be scanned and the patient's body type.
For example, a 3.0 T is preferred for most neurological studies, e.g. brain, cranial nerves, etc. A 3 Tesla scan is preferred for orthopedic imaging such as wrists and knees, among other areas. Finally, 3.0 T is recommended for all vascular applications (MR Angiography).
A well-equipped 1.5 T magnet is preferred for applications such as body imaging because signal loss artifact (image distortion) can occur on large body parts on a 3.0 T. Examples include MRI of the breast and liver. Pelvis and renal MRI are all done on our 1.5 for this reason. Additionally, various body types can be better imaged on our lower field strength magnet.
As a result, PIC is able to better serve/image various patients, body parts and pathology by customizing the study using both magnet strength and protocols (each protocol is like a "recipe" of which scan techniques to use, depending on the patient and the diagnosis). When a patient walks through the door, we've got the options to send them to the appropriate high-field scanner, with the latest technology and comprehensive certifications you expect.
New Services and Equipment Announced
PIC is pleased to announce two new imaging technologies, along with some new services, that include:
- 64 slice CT ("Cat Scan")
- 3.0 T high-field MRI
- Cardiac CT scan for coronary calcium
- Vascular Ultrasound Screening
- Bone Density reporting that now includes FRAX results, the patient's risk of fracture
Why the New Equipment?
PIC replaced one of its 1.5 Tesla high field MRI scanners last summer with a 3.0 Tesla MRI, twice as strong as typical high-field magnets. The 3.0 Tesla scanner complements our 1.5 Tesla offering by allowing us to better image patients who need neurological and angiography workup, and is the most advanced magnet currently available for outpatients in Alaska (see story above). The new 64 slice CT scanner replaced a 16 slice scanner used for many years, and brings with it the ability to quickly scan patients with a minimal radiation dose. The increased resolution gives our radiologists superior 3D reconstruction images.
In Anchorage, two new retail services are available to help screen patients for cardiovascular disease. Cardiac CT scan for coronary calcium is a non-invasive way of obtaining information about the presence, location and extent of calcified plaque in the coronary arteries-the vessels that supply oxygen-containing blood to the heart wall. Calcified plaque is a buildup of fat and other substances, ncluding calcium, and is a sign of atherosclerosis, a disease of the vessel wall, which iscalled coronary artery disease. Vascular Ultrasound Screening is a panel of three tests that looks for vascular disease outside the heart, and includes screening for:
- Carotid Artery Disease
- Aortic Aneurysm
- Peripheral Artery Disease in the legs
For more information about any of these services, please contact Nathan Switzer at (907) 212-6032, or via email at Nathan.Switzer@providence.org
Accreditation and Radiology: Passionate About Getting it Right
What do you expect when you send patients to an imaging facility? Timely reports? Accurate reads? Friendly schedulers? Respectful treatment of your patients? Shouldn't you also expect that staff are specialists in their field, and that equipment is working accurately?
We want our referring offices and patients alike to know our staff are certified in their specialty, and that our imaging equipment meets an independent, high standard for quality. We are excited to partner with the American College of Radiology (ACR), an independent organization that evaluates qualifications of personnel, equipment performance, effectiveness of quality control measures, and quality of clinical images. It is believed that these are the primary factors that impact the quality of clinical images and the quality of patient care. Currently, PIC is fully accredited in mammography; breast ultrasound; ultrasound-guided breast biopsy; and stereotactic-guided breast biopsy. These four offerings make us the only Breast Imaging Center of Excellence in Alaska. Additionally, we are accredited in MRI, including five subspecialities. Our goal is to add CT and PET-CT by the end of the year.
What about staff? Our radiologists are board certified, and each technologist is required to be certified in their specialty - something we take very seriously. Staff are given time and support to maintain their continuing education credits. "PIC was the first imaging center in the nation to be certified in stereotactic breast biopsy. We pursue these designations because participation in these programs ensures a high skill level for our technologists and radiologists. This in turn encourages us to stay abreast of the latest education available so that we can provide the best quality care to the patients we serve," shares Dr. Denise Farleigh, PIC's Medical Director. Visit www.acr.org/ and click on "Accreditation" for more information about the Breast Imaging Centers of Excellence and other ACR accreditation programs.