TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. (NNS) -- Naval Hospital Twentynine Palms continues to expand services and create greater convenience for patients and beneficiaries. With in-house MRI and mammography, patients no longer have to drive long distances for those services.
The radiology department's modernization continues.
Three-dimensional mammography is the latest state-of-the art service we offer our patients. Conventional mammograms are created from two x-ray images of each breast. Three-dimensional mammography uses several, low-dose x-ray images from different angles to create a 3-D picture and is touted for finding more cancers earlier with fewer false positives.
The following is an overview of the significant upgrades to the radiology department over the past few years.
In 2014, the radiology department embarked on a voyage, mapped out by leadership and board of directors, which shared the vision of a new and improved radiology department. Two new ultrasound machines were installed, and these machines are still considered top of the line, with improved image clarity and functionality.
In May 2015, ground breaking for the new MRI Care Suite took place. A previous director for clinical services relinquished her office space for the new MRI suite. The new GE 1.5 Tesla MRI unit was hoisted by crane, through the roof, and lowered into the newly-constructed suite.
In September 2015, computed radiography was upgraded with new equipment which improved overall image quality. In November 2015, a pulsed fluoroscopy software package was installed. This dose-saving technology reduces overall patient radiation exposure by an average of 33 percent. This upgrade falls in line with National Guidelines and Recommendations: As Low as Reasonably Achievable (ALARA), Image Wisely and Image Gently.
In April 2016, the multi-million dollar MRI Care Suite celebrated its grand opening. Since then, there has been a continuous expansion of MRI services.
In July 2016, new radiography services began being offered to active-duty Marines at the new Adult Medical Care Clinic (AMCC). In addition to providing faster, more convenient digital radiography service, the new equipment came with upgrades which include automated technology and a dedicated orthopedics sports package.
In August 2016, new 2-D mammographic services began being offered to patients. This mammography program is certified by the governing bodies -- American College of Radiology (ACR) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
In November 2016, the $500,000 radiology department Picture Archiving Computer System (PACS) was upgraded with newer technology to include higher resolution monitors. This technologic upgrade benefits NHTP and Branch Clinics China Lake and Bridgeport, as well as the AMCC.
In December 2016, standard 2-D mammography services were upgraded with new hardware, software, staff training, and certifications to provide state-of-the-art, 3-D mammographic technology. Three-dimensional mammography is shown to improve cancer detection rates while reducing overall call-back rates by up to 30 percent. Any Tricare-enrolled beneficiary at NHTP can request this 3-D mammography screening.
In January, the existing computed radiography room/digital cart combination at Naval Hospital Twentynine Palms was finally upgraded to the new, all-in-one, digital radiography room. This digital radiography room improves turnaround time, while offering the same technologic advances provided at the new AMCC.
In February, ground breaking for the new dual radiography and fluoroscopy room is expected to take place, with anticipation of these new services available for beneficiaries by late April. This new dual fluoroscopic and radiographic equipment provides better imaging quality, faster image acquisition, and up to 80 percent overall dose reduction to include a dedicated pediatric dose package.
The voyage to state-of-the art continues.
Additional upgrades on the horizon include a new standalone PACS server which will increase speed, redundancy and reliability of radiology services to providers and patients. New automated doors will be installed at the entrance to the radiology department to provide better access for patients with injuries or disabilities. A new shoulder MRI coil was also just approved, which will improve imaging quality of the shoulder threefold.
Ultimately, the radiology department's journey to provide the best, state-of-the-art technologies and services will continue. Naval Hospital Twentynine Palms takes pride in providing the best, highest-quality, patient-centered health care services.
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