West River Health Services upgrade x-ray equipment at satellite clinics

Satellite clinics of West River Health Services are in the process, or have completed the process of receiving major upgrades.

Xray long shot (RGB)

By COLE BENZ | Herald Editor | cbenz@countrymedia.net

Satellite clinics of West River Health Services are in the process, or have completed the process of receiving major upgrades.

Jodi Burns has been on a three-year venture to get the clinics new, state-of-the art x-ray machines for Bowman, Mott, New England and Lemmon. Burns is the Radiology Department Manager in Hettinger.

In New England, the old machine was over 40 years old and had some restrictions that updated machines don’t have to face.

The old machine required the staff of the clinic to process the images, as they used old types of film. With the new machine the staff has the luxury of Computed Radiography, or digital imaging of the x-rays taken.

Two positives have come from this new ability.

One, images can be sent to Hettinger where the radiologist can look at them almost instantaneously.

This is going to cut down on time and energy, and decrease the turn around time for a patient waiting for a diagnoses, or word on further treatment.

“Within minutes, in fact, because we’ll be able to send it there, and he can give us his answer back,” Teresa Nielsen said of the turn around time. Nielsen is a Physician’s Assitant at the New England location. Prior to the new machine, patients usually waited a day or two to hear back from the doctor, now it’s possible to hear back within the day, or even within the hour.

“We’re looking at a 30 to 60 minute turn around time, versus one to two days,” Burns said.

The clinics will also have the ability to send images to other facilities if a patients is directed elsewhere for further care.

Another benefit of the digital imaging is going to be the quality of the x-ray picture.The image quality will be better, and it will also allow healthcare providers the ability to magnify the picture in a way that older film does not.

The new machine is also going to be easier for patients to get on and off the x-ray table. The old machine had a table that was static and did not allow for height or distance adjustment.

Now with the ability to move, older patients and those with injuries will find it easier to be x-rayed.

“Much more convenient for our older population I think especially, or anybody that’s hurt.” Nielsen said.

The added power will also allow New England to take x-rays of patients with back ailments. The previous equipment did not have enough power to be able to shoot that part of a patient’s body.

Small improvements to the facilities were also necessary with the new machines.

Since they are smaller, the rooms required some paint touch-ups and minor cosmetic updates.

The healthcare workers will also have a little more space to work with, since the new equipment is smaller than the old.

Updates to some electrical work were also necessary for the new equipment to function correctly.

Bowman received their machine first, then Mott got theirs the week of Oct. 13 and New England began the process of instituting the new machine the week of Nov. 3.Lemmon will be the last location to receive their upgraded machine.

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