A Special Feature on CDI Lafayette
When the Center for Diagnostic Imaging (CDI) of Lafayette, Ind., purchased Open MRI of Lafayette two years ago, it was time for some big changes. Big, as in new equipment, new modalities, new location.
Of course entering into a slew of costly changes wasn't done on a whim. The strategic expansion was built on healthcare demands of the immediate population.
Community-Based Expansion Strategy
"Our growth strategy is to focus on the needs of the communities we serve," explained Laura Stark, regional vice president of operations, CDI of Indiana, Ohio and West Virginia. "We've been in the imaging market in the Indianapolis area for a long time, and we were increasingly getting requests for CT technology as well as MRI." A new location, with additional space, made the expansion prime for implementation.
"Our previous facility had been a fixture for years, but it was tucked down a street that didn't have much visibility. Patients had a hard time finding us, and we wanted to become more convenient for them," said Stark. So along with a larger, more visible location at 3738 Landmark Drive in Lafayette, CDI made the decision to add CT technology to its range of services. The center selected a GE Bright Speed low-dose CT scanner in considering patient safety and the ability to monitor and reduce patient exposure to radiation. According to manufacturer studies, this CT allows for up to a 40% reduction in radiation dose to patients with no compromise to image quality.
Stark believed the addition of CT was not only responsive to patients' needs, but also to a growing climate of outpatient procedures. "It used to be that CT scans were ordered in-hospital primarily, but now we are seeing much more imaging done outside of the hospital setting," said Stark, noting the center's new CT technology is still in a growth period.
Open MRI Upgrade
As the expansion unfolded, CDI also examined the MRI capabilities that had been the backbone of their business. "When we acquired the Open MRI facility, it came equipped with an older MRI system. So we decided to upgrade the technology to a high-field open MRI," said Stark explaining that while the older system was a .3 Tesla-strength open magnet, the new system still provides the comfort of a truly open MRI but is four times as powerful (1.2 Tesla) delivering better image quality. The open design of the scanner accommodates patients up to 660 pounds and is considered ideal for claustrophobic patients, allowing most patients to be scanned without sedation. In addition, the advanced technology behind this type of MRI reveals more detail than traditional open-sided scanners, providing more detail for an accurate diagnosis.
"We're excited to be expanding the range of services we've provided to physicians and patients for the last 15 years," noted Glenn Tuckman, MD, radiologist and medical director of CDI, via a CDI news release. "The new center builds on CDI's promise to provide patients and physicians with access to advanced imaging services in a responsive manner - which often includes same-day appointments."
That sort of immediate access goes hand-in-hand with CDI's attention to turn-around-times to referring doctors. "We get reports out within 24 hours maximum," said Stark, "and usually within 6 hours."
Stark said such quick times help CDI (the only independent - i.e. not hospital- or physician-owned - imaging center in Lafayette) remain a competitive force in the marketplace. "We are focused not only on convenient service to the community, but high quality reads," said Stark. "At Lafayette we have one dedicated radiologist, (Tuckmann, who provides on-site care, consultations and specialized interpretations) and 10 throughout the Indianapolis area. We also have five technologists on staff. Our team is respected by physicians, which helps drive referrals." As for the convenience piece of the equation, the center has entered into another expansion - one of hours. Doors are open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays.
As the imaging needs of the Lafayette community evolve and change, CDI proposes to stay ahead of the curve. "We have the space now, so we'll continue to evaluate," said Stark in consideration of future expansion. "We will continue to be responsive to area patients and physicians."
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