St. John’s Hospital’s Department of Radiology delivers inspired care, combining new, state-of-the-art technology with a compassionate spirit to deliver healing and health.
Additional data. Increased accuracy. Faster results. These are just a few of the benefits radiology patients at St. John’s Hospital will experience as the result of the Department of Radiology’s new CT Scanner: the SOMATOM® Definition Flash with Duel Energy. The new scanner was installed in December, and patients began utilizing it December 21. The radiology department encompasses all emergency room, outpatient and inpatient services, including X-rays, CTs, MRIs, ultrasounds, angiography and mammography.
“We are a full-service radiology department that focuses on combining the latest advances in radiological technology with the human touch,” says Jim Timpe, MS, CRA, RT(N)(MR), Director of Radiology at St. John’s Hospital. “This new scanner will help us continue to provide exceptional patient care. Our focus is one-on-one interaction between the patient and technologist coupled with the same technology one would find in an academic center.”
The radiology department’s new technology works to uphold the mission of St. John’s Hospital: To reveal and embody Christ’s healing love for all people through its high quality Franciscan health care ministry. The hospital’s mission is twofold, balancing the professional and spiritual facets of running a hospital by managing the realities of how to best serve those in need while simultaneously focusing on the people who come to be healed.
“By continuing to advance our technology, we also continue to build upon our quality of care to better serve our patients,” says Jim.
A regional medical center serving the Central and Southern Illinois area, St. John’s Hospital is the largest employer in the Springfield area, encompassing over three thousand staff. Respect, care, competence, and joy are the values that set St. John’s Hospital apart as a haven of hope, healing, and love.
What is CT Scanning?
The Department of Radiology’s new SOMATOM® Definition Flash with Duel Energy scanner takes CT scanning at St. John’s Hospital to the next level, enhancing the wide spectrum of adult and pediatric diagnostic, therapeutic, and interventional radiology services the hospital provides while continuing to place patient wellness at the forefront.
St. John’s Hospital’s computed tomography (CT) imaging, also known as CAT (computer axial tomography) scanning, uses a computer and rotating X-ray device to create a cross-sectional image or “slice” of organs and body parts. Tomography is the process of generating a two-dimensional image of an area of the body through a three-dimensional object known as a tomogram. CT scanners are used to study the lungs and abdomen as well as to diagnose cancer. CT imaging together with CT angiography plays a significant role in the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of heart and vascular diseases leading to stroke or kidney failure. Due to a CAT scan’s ability to generate high-resolution images, CT scanning can also diagnose complications with the inner ear and sinuses.
“Our goal everyday, and for everyone, is to provide the inspired care and visionary medicine people believe in,” says Jim.
Moving Forward in Radiology
Indeed, the new SOMATOM® Definition Flash with Duel Energy is inspiring patients and physicians alike with its ability to make CT exams much healthier and more beneficial for patients. Applying the lowest radiation dose possible is of paramount importance for both patients and physicians.
According to Jim: “The Definition Flash helps assure us that we are taking every means available to expose our patients to the least amount of radiation possible.”
The SOMATOM® Definition Flash contains new and improved radiation dose reduction features, including CARE (Combined Applications to Reduce Exposure) kV, designed to provide optimal image quality at the lowest possible dose for each individual CT exam. In addition, the scanner’s Adaptive Dose Shields eliminate unnecessary radiation doses for spiral examinations, decreasing dosage by up to 25 percent. The scanner also guarantees low radiation doses for all organs in the body with its X-CARE feature designed to protect radiation-sensitive organs and body regions from direct X-ray exposure. X-CARE reduces radiation exposure for sensitive organs by up to 40 percent.
In addition to
low-dose radiation, patients appreciate the fact that this new scanner
eliminates nearly all electronic noise thanks to the scanner’s stellar
detectors. The detectors reduce electronic noise and cross-talk. In the
absence of cross-talk, the CT scanner generates much clearer images and
an extremely high level of visual detail.
“The images on the new scanner are better than those produced with the usual radiation dose, so we get a better view of the patient,” says Jim. “This leads to a better diagnosis.”
Split-second Flash Spiral scanning is a noteworthy benefit of the new CT scanner, helping radiologists counter the challenges of scanning fragile, sick or traumatic patients that have difficulty holding their breath or that become impatient during the routine scanning process. The SOMATOM® Definition Flash is capable of unparalleled scan speeds of up to 458 millimeters per second, which is quick enough to scan an entire body in under 5 seconds. In addition, an entire heart scan is now possible in just 250 milliseconds, or a quarter heartbeat.
Split-second scanning has also proven its value in the emergency department. For example, the scanner’s FAST Spine feature produces accurate images of complex vertebrae and disc reconstructions with just one click in only 30 seconds. By so doing, the new technology marks the stage for earlier and more accurately targeted emergency room care.
Says Jim: “Split-second scanning combined with low radiation dosage emphasizes the patient-centric aspect of the new scanning procedure.” Quicker scans also aid in patient diagnosis. “We’re able to diagnose patients a lot faster because the images process a lot quicker. As we look at the images, we can interpret them at a quicker rate.”
The SOMATOM® Definition Flash’s ability to gather additional data and information for radiologists during a CT scan aids radiologists in making a more accurate patient diagnosis. SOMATOM® Definition Flash with Spiral Duel Energy enables two X-ray sources running simultaneously at different energies to acquire two sets of data showing different attenuation levels. The increased data helps radiologists to more easily classify the chemical composition of the scanned tissue. Radiologists also receive a fused image for initial diagnosis.
“Quicker speed and increased data are paramount because these benefits not only help us but, more importantly, they come through for our patients. Our patients are at the heart of everything we do.”
Finally, the new CT scanner has the ability to handle a larger variety of patients from infants to adults that weigh 660 pounds. “We now have the ability to serve more of the population that’s out there today,” says Jim.
Meeting Patient Goals
Radiologists at St. John’s Hospital are pleased to deliver a higher quality of patient results with less exposure to harmful radiation.
“Our new technology not only means moving forward in accuracy and data accumulation but it means doing so in a manner that places patient safety and well-being ahead of everything else,” says Jim. “The purchase of our new CT scanner was a huge part of our goal to decrease patient radiation exposure. It was part of our overall strategy for patient health.”
Jim Timpe, MS, CRA, RT(N)(MR) is Director of Radiology at St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, Illinois. He has worked extensively on performance improvement initiatives for all imaging modalities during his current and previous leadership roles, leading imaging specific Lean events. He is a black belt in Six Sigma and a Certified Radiology Administrator who has spoken both regionally and nationally on performance improvement in Radiology. Jim can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on St. John’s Hospital, visit www.st-johns.org or call 217-544-6464. St. John’s Hospital is located at 800 E. Carpenter St., Springfield, IL.
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