New facility provides new equipment, and better technology
Spend a few minutes talking with Dr. Lebron Lackey, one of four Rhea Medical Center radiologists, and it’s hard not to detect the excitement in his voice as he explains the capabilities of the new Rhea Medical Center radiology department.
“Our equipment is new, our ability to share results with doctors is top-notch, and we now have an entirely digital department,” he said. “Combine that with the kindness and compassion of our staff, and you just can’t beat Rhea Medical Center.”
When it comes to the latest technology and most up-to-date equipment, the new facility has much to offer. First, there’s the new all-digital Picture Archiving and Communication System, or PACS, which “enhances every aspect of our digital imaging department,” according to Lackey. The system allows radiologists to read X-rays and other imaging tests on their specialized, high-resolution computer systems as opposed to tracking down films that are moved around during evaluation. This improves communication with physicians and increases the speed at which exams can be obtained and accessed.
Then there’s the long-anticipated permanent MRI unit. Before, Rhea Medical Center had a mobile unit which limited availability. Now patients can have MRI exams five days a week. The room is bigger and the MRI itself is more open and comfortable for patients. “The equipment purchase itself was one of the best I have ever seen in my entire radiology career,” said Dr. Lackey. “This is the first fixed, full-time MRI in Rhea County and it is something we are especially proud of.”
The digital PACS system and permanent MRI unit are combined with other leading-edge technologies that were already in place at the old facility, such as the brand new 16-slice CT scanner. This CT scanner improves both the speed at which images can be obtained (a chest scan takes just10-15 seconds) and the quality of images produced. The three-dimensional visualizations of internal organs and structures produced by the CT scanner provide Rhea Medical Center radiologists with the material they need to make accurate readings.
“As a radiologist I am particularly proud of our group,” said Dr. Lackey. “With two radiologists on site each day, we have a proven track record of fast turn around times on our reports. We always peer review our work. Our peer review data is sent to the American College of Radiology for verification, and I’m happy to report that if a mammogram is reported negative by our practice, our results are 99.9 percent accurate.”
Patients will also appreciate what Lackey calls the “creature comforts” of the new facility. Private waiting rooms for mammography, ultrasound, CT, and MRI make visits to the radiology department much more comfortable. To learn more about what to expect when visiting the radiology department at Rhea Medical Center, visit rheamedical.org.