State-of-the-art technology puts region ahead of the curve

Published 8:19 am Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Star Photo/Kayla Carter  Skates were placed underneath the machine in order to move it into the renovated MRI room at Sycamore Shoals Hospital.

Star Photo/Kayla Carter
Skates were placed underneath the machine in order to move it into the renovated MRI room at Sycamore Shoals Hospital.

Sycamore Shoals Hospital now houses one of the newest and most advanced MRI machines in the Mountain State Health Alliance circuit, according to Corey Paulson, director of marketing and communications at Sycamore Shoals Hospital.
While health care technology is always changing and improving, installing the Toshiba Titan 1.5T is the hospital’s way of staying ahead of the curve.
“I think the people of Elizabethton should be proud to know that their hospital really has one of the most advanced MRI machines in the whole region,” Paulson said.
Several members of hospital staff stood outside to watch a crane operator hoist the nearly 6-ton machine into place Monday morning.
Tom Peters, account executive for Toshiba America Medical Systems, highlighted a few of the features that makes this model machine stand out from the rest.
First of all, the opening in which patients are inserted into the machine is more accommodating.
“It allows a hospital to use it for bariatric patients, or larger patients, and it also reduces anxiety,” Peters said.
In the same theme of reduced patient anxiety, the magnet inside the new machine can do the same.
“This is the quietest magnet in the world,” Peters said. “The sound reduction technology is built into the magnet.”
“This is about a 90 percent reduction in noise,” Paulson said.
Peters and Paulson were also impressed by the machine’s breast imaging capabilities and ability to allow patients to go in feet first.
“About 85 percent of tests can allow someone to go in feet first, if they prefer,” Paulson said.
The hospital’s staff will also see benefits in having the new equipment.
“It’s a win-win for everybody because physicians, orthopedists, radiologist and everyone that orders an exam will have the best quality images,” Paulson said. “Also, the speed at which they can get them will be much quicker.”
Even the features that assist staff in completing their job ultimately benefit the patients, Peters said.
“It definitely makes everybody’s life easier,” Peters said.
In anticipation of the new machine, the room in which it was placed has gone through some upgrades, Paulson said.
“The floor ceiling and walls are literally wrapped in copper,” Paulson said. “Its purpose is to keep radio frequencies out of the room. That would affect image quality.”
The process is not over with the placement of the machine inside the building. Installation, calibration and training for the machine may take up to four weeks, Paulson said.
“As of today, the first patient is scheduled for the second week of August,” Paulson said.
With proper care, the hospital plans to have the machine exceed its projected life span just as the last machine did, Paulson said.
“We got this machine to replace a 15-year-old machine,” Paulson said.
The expected life span of any MRI machine is roughly 10 years, Paulson said.
“We’ve got all this on the heels of completing a total renovation of our operating rooms,” Paulson said. “We’re starting to get into emergency room renovations. We also have the new teleneurology program. There are just a lot of cool things going on here at the hospital.”
Much like any project going on at the hospital, the nearly $2 million MRI machine project has been focused heavily on patient satisfaction and convenience, Paulson said.
“This is going to provide more comfortable exams,” Paulson said. “Everything we do here at the hospital is about making the patient’s experience better.”

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