Quad Cities, IL/IA

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A Pledge, Vision, 7 Decades and Counting


By KD Flick, Physician Liaison

Baby Boomers of a certain age may remember parents or grandparents talking of “exploratory surgery.” The objective was to open up the body, have a look inside, then use that information to arrive at a diagnosis. It was a procedure that typically signaled a serious condition or illness that defied a diagnosis using the conventional methods of the day. Since 1896, x-rays had been the gold standard for determining what ailed you. But in many instances x-rays could not begin to uncover the underlying cause of a particular disease, injury, or condition. Fortunately today, exploratory surgery has been replaced with state-of-the-art medical imaging technology and robotic cameras. These high-tech scientific developments of the past 3-4 decades have transformed the practice of all medical specialties and correspondingly, patient care.

“Radiology is the heart of medicine,” explains diagnostic radiologist Joseph Phelan, MD, vice president of Radiology Group, PC.SC and medical director of Genesis Imaging Centers, Davenport, Iowa. “Current state-of-the-art technology allows us to look inside the body and study it in ways that once was considered science fiction or sheer fantasy. Physicians were intrigued by the ability to see not just bone, but soft tissue and blood vessels throughout the body — especially the brain. CT (computed tomography) revolutionized the way we practiced diagnostic medicine.”

During the mid-to-late 70s, CT scanners (or “cat scans”) came into use in hospitals throughout the developed world. At the time, all diagnostic imaging was hospital-based. CT scanners became the cornerstone of emergency departments to quickly evaluate and triage patients when the source or extent of their condition was uncertain. CT scanners work by creating extremely thin “slices” of images (similar to slices in a loaf of bread) to create highly detailed pictures of tumors, masses, polyps, lesions, hemorrhages, aneurisms, and other complex pathology. With the advent of increasingly powerful computers, CT scanners significantly reduced the need for exploratory surgery. It also changed the way radiologists and oncology physicians consulted together to track cancers and monitor their response to various therapies and treatments. In all, the 70s and 80s were watershed years for the advancement of diagnostic imaging technology. MRI scanners were able to obtain intricate anatomical images without the use of radiation. Similarly, breakthroughs in ultrasound offered radiologists a non-radiation tool for safely observing arterial blood flow or assessing the health of fetuses in “real time” on computer monitors.

The 1980s and 90s marked a seismic shift away from hospital-based imaging and surgical services to ambulatory outpatient centers. (The word “ambulatory” comes from the latin verb ambulare , which means “to walk.” It signified that patients did not require hospital admission and were well enough to go home after a procedure.)

In 1985, Radiology Group moved from its location at 125 Kirkwood Boulevard to Paul Revere Square, Davenport. In keeping with the Group’s commitment to patient access and expedient care, Paul Revere Square offered a centrally located site, convenience and front-door parking. At the time, hospitals did not offer mammography. With the move, Radiology Group provided mammography services in addition to general x-ray, leading the way for Radiology Group to become the foremost mammography provider in the area. It was during the years at Paul Revere Square that Radiology Group began envisioning its future as a freestanding, outpatient imaging center.

On April 1, 1999, Radiology Group opened the doors to its new facility, “Radiology Group Imaging Center.” It featured two ultrasound rooms, MRI and CT suites, three mammography machines and x-ray. In 2002 and 2003, nuclear medicine and a positron emission tomography (PET) scanner were acquired.

“These advancements were momentous,” recalls Judy Claussen, lead nuclear medicine technologist, Genesis Imaging Center. “During the 50s and 60s, nuclear medicine and x-ray were the primary tools for detecting brain, bone, liver and lung cancers. With the future availability of faster and more powerful computers and MRI and CT technology, nuclear medicine and PET’s ability to detect and stage cancers increased by leaps and bounds. The technologies we use today all complement each other. Today, nuclear medicine and PET scanning continue to function as key detection and cancer staging tools that hematologists and oncologists depend on for diagnosing cancer patients and planning treatment.“

In 2005, the Imaging Center installed Iowa’s second high-field open MRI featuring the largest interior diameter available to provide a better patient experience and comfort for patients with anxiety or claustrophobia. In 2007, Genesis Health System and Radiology Group Imaging Center, LLC partnered to invest $3.5 million to bring digital mammography to the Quad Cities region. At the time, the technology was available in less than 35 percent of health care facilities across the nation. In January of 2012, Radiology Group PC.SC underwent a joint venture agreement with Genesis Health System to provide outpatient services throughout the Quad Cities by bringing together Radiology Group Imaging Center and Genesis’ Bettendorf Imaging Center. These centers became Genesis Imaging Center, Davenport and Genesis Imaging Center, Bettendorf. On November 3rd of this year, the former Devil’s Glen facility relocated to the Genesis HealthPlex at
2140 53rd Avenue in Bettendorf.

“Radiology Group and Genesis Imaging Centers continue to grow, progress, and provide innovative diagnostic imaging within the framework of an ever-changing health care environment,” said Dr. Phelan. “Our presence at the new Bettendorf location allows us to offer even greater convenience for patients and the primary care physicians with whom we work. Providing leading technology and exceptional patient care with an emphasis on ‘one-stop access’ fits nicely into our vision of providing the sort of patient-centered care we’ve pledged and practiced for nearly 70 years.”

To learn more about diagnostic imaging, Radiology Group, PC.SC., or Genesis Imaging Centers, contact KD Flick, Physician Liaison, Genesis Imaging Centers, at 563-421-5632 or flickk@genesishealth.com. For information about Radiology Group’s physicians, go to www.rgimaging.com.

How The Beatles Funded the First CT Scanner

The Beatles didn’t just make an enormous contribution to the field of music; they indirectly helped make an enormous contribution to the field of medical research and imaging.

Back in 1962, The Beatles signed with Electric & Music Industries (EMI). The Beatles were so successful that EMI was able to fund other divisions of the company; in particular, the work of engineer Godfrey Hounsfield who was working to develop a CT machine in the medical research division of EMI. The large expense of the scanner project was offset by the profits generated by EMI’s studio and recording division owing to The Beatles’ super stardom. Profits from The Beatles’ meteoric rise to fame were channeled directly into the research, development, and marketing of the first CAT scan machines.

In 1972, the first commercially available CT scanner was created. At the time, it only took images of the brain. A few years later, Hounsfield developed a full body CT that won him the Nobel Prize in Medicine.

Sources: www.medicaldiscoverynews.com, www.howtogeek.com