Digital mammography introduced at Margaretville Hospital

Margaretville Hospital is now utilizing state-of-the-art digital mammography equipment.
The new digital mammography system was placed in service on November 12, following a 10-day period for installation and staff training. The equipment has received certification from the American College of Radiology.
The new Hologics equipment enables Margaretville Hospital to provide services that are “the standard of care for breast imaging,” explained Director of Radiology Tony Allen.
He pointed out that the digital mammography equipment provides the highest quality images and offers shorter exam times.
The results of this testing are also faster. Mr. Allen said the average turnaround time for results from the previous equipment was five days. Now exam results are available within 24-48 hours.
Mr. Allen noted that the exam procedure is essentially the same, but “the acquisition and transmission of images is different.”
Margaretville Hospital is a member of HealthAlliance of Hudson Valley, an affiliation that includes Kingston and Benedictine hospitals. Margaretville previously would send mammogram films to Kingston by courier where they would be read by a radiologist. With the digital system, exam results are sent immediately to the radiologist via the Internet.
Mr. Allen added, “This is technology that is not normally available in a small, rural hospital. The system works in conjunction with the R-2 checker that will scan the film and will put marks on the film where it feels there may be changes in the breast. It can bring subtle changes to the radiologists’ attention that the eye may not pick up as quickly.”
He continued, “The key is early detection – to notice changes early and begin treatment and stop the spread of the cancer,” Mr. Allen stated. “The patient may not feel the lump and the digital exam can pick up problems earlier.”
He pointed out that great strides have been made in breast cancer awareness programs and these have resulted in a vast improvement in cancer survival rates.
“Fifteen or 20 years ago, breast cancer awareness was in its infancy. Now, people are well aware of what’s best for women’s health and this work has been very successful in prevention and treatment of the disease,” Mr. Allen stated. (See related story).

Grant funded
The digital mammography equipment, including a printer, was purchased through a $202,000 Rural Access Grant that the hospital applied for nearly a year ago.
Hospital Chief Executive Officer Ed Morache said that the hospital demonstrated a need for such equipment and this fact was recognized with the grant award.
He pointed out that digital mammography services are the first step in the creation of a Women’s Health Center that will be set up when the hospital begins renovations to its Emergency Department next month. The Women’s Health Center section will include testing equipment and an education room.
Mr. Morache added, “This is an important piece of equipment. It’s another example of Margaretville Hospital and the HealthAlliance being proactive in maintaining high standards of care for the community. We feel that by bringing this into our neighborhood, more people can take advantage of it.”
Margaretville Hospital and Mountainside Residential Care Center, an 82-bed skilled nursing facility, are located on Route 28, Margaretville. For info, call 845 586-2631.