“Anxiety-free” mammograms and more at Beaufort Memorial’s new Women’s Imaging Center.
Time for your annual mammogram? No worries. Beaufort Memorial Hospital is turning the dreaded breast check-up into a relaxing, anxiety-free experience with its new Women’s Imaging Center.
Open as of Aug. 1 on the first floor of Beaufort Medical Plaza at 989 Ribaut Rd., the $1.3-million facility has been designed to appeal to women’s sensibilities with calming interior colors, soft lighting and comfortable furniture.
“This is not your typical sterile waiting room with 10-year-old magazines,” said Breast Care Coordinator Ronda O’Connell, RN. “We put a lot of thought into the design to make the experience more enjoyable.”
Dailey & Associates, a Greenville firm specializing in health care designs, came up with the center’s healing arts concept. They created the same kind of interior for the Keyserling Cancer Center and hospital patient rooms.
“I call it healing with paint,” said Warren Verdin, one of the design professionals who worked on the project. “The idea was to create a spa-like environment. We used lavenders, grays and blues, furniture with soft textures and accent lighting.”
Every detail, from the art on the walls to the soothing music playing over the speakers, was chosen with the healing arts in mind, working closely with the hospital’s own Healing Arts Committee. Changing rooms were designed to open into their own individual examination rooms, providing patients with more privacy and personal space.
“You’re not going to have to walk down the hall in a hospital gown anymore,” O’Connell said. “We want women to feel catered to, not like they’re going through an assembly line.”
New, “softer” mammograms with Mammopads™ will make the exam more comfortable. In addition to digital screening mammograms, the center will offer digital diagnostic mammograms, breast ultrasound, bone density scans, ultrasound breast biopsy and stereotactic breast biopsy. All of the digital imaging technology was funded through community donations to the BMH Foundation.
To reduce the worry women often experience waiting for their results, the center has its own dedicated radiologist on site ready to read the screenings minutes after they’re taken.
“We found through focus groups that women like knowing the results of their tests when they walk out the door,” O’Connell said. “It provides them with peace of mind.”
BMH created the the 4,100-square foot Women’s Imaging Center in response to focus groups conducted several years ago in Beaufort and Bluffton. An overwhelming number of women who participated in the study said they wanted quality care delivered with sensitivity and compassion in a convenient and pleasant environment.
“They weren’t just asking for a larger building or more technology;” said Pat Foulger, RN, BMH Vice President of Quality Services. “They wanted a lot more.”
With input from physicians, protocols were developed to streamline the process of care from the initial examination to follow-up testing to treatment at the Keyserling Cancer Center.
It will work like this: The technologist will take the mammogram, process the images and turn them over to the radiologist. If the patient’s doctor also ordered a bone scan, it can be taken following the mammogram. When the tests are completed, the patient can get dressed and return to the waiting room to enjoy a cup of tea or coffee.
If the mammogram is clear, the technologist will inform the patient and notify her physician. Should the screening turn up an abnormality, the radiologist will immediately contact the doctor to discuss further diagnostic testing.
The radiologist will meet with the patient and give her the option of returning at a later date for the test or having it done on the spot. O’Connell will join them to answer any questions and explain the process.
“My job is to help educate and reassure the patient, so she’ll have less anxiety,” O’Connell said. “It’s all about making them feel comfortable.”
Mammograms can be scheduled by calling (843) 522-5015. To save time, women may also complete and submit the on-line pre-registration form. For more information on the Women’s Imaging Center visit www.bmhsc.org.
Tours of the facility, located adjacent to the hospital in Suite 110 of Beaufort Medical Plaza, will be offered during a free open house from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 4. Guests will also will have the opportunity to meet the staff, ask questions and book their annual mammograms. Refreshments will be served.