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Henry Medical unveils new diagnostic center

By Jason A. Smith

jsmith@henryherald.com

Henry Medical Center (HMC) officially unveiled its newest facility, geared toward increasing convenience and services for patients.

The hospital, on Thursday, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its McDonough Diagnostic Center, at 101 Regency Park Drive.

The $2 million facility, which is part of the McDonough Medical Pavilion, offers X-rays, computed-tomography (CT) scans, digital mammography and bone-density tests.

Charles F. Scott, chief executive officer of HMC, said the purpose of the diagnostic center is "to provide a comprehensive array of imaging services," on an out-patient basis. "Currently, all the radiology and other imaging that we offer is in the main hospital," Scott said.

"When outpatients need an X-ray, or other imaging services, they have to come to the hospital ... where we're also servicing in-patients and emergency patients," he said. "Generally, those patients take priority, so it's often a situation where people are having to wait."

Patients can schedule appointments more easily at the diagnostic center, making it a "more convenient and more efficient location," and a "nice complement" to the services provided at the Medical Pavilion, Scott added.

Those services, he continued, include the hospital's Urgent Care Center. "If a patient comes to the Urgent Care Center, and needs an X-ray study, we've got it all right here," he said. "We can do a more comprehensive assessment of patients with the X-ray capabilities that we have here now."

The diagnostic center, the CEO said, enables the hospital to meet more patients' needs, through the use of its Picture Archiving Computer System (PACS). Staff members at the facility transmit patient images and information to HMC's Radiology Department. They can be interpreted immediately and sent to the patient's physician, according to Scott.

He said the center will provide significant benefits, for two groups of people in Henry County. "One is, people who live in the central and southern parts of Henry County," said Scott. "In addition, for anybody who lives in the area ... it's just more convenient to be able to park right in front, get right in, and have a scheduled appointment time.

"Once the word gets out, and we get our communication and marketing efforts in full gear, we do anticipate it will become much busier over time," he said.

Calvin Ferrier, the imaging services manager at the diagnostic center, agreed with Scott's assessment. "Any study that is required, or asked of us, by a referring physician, we can perform," Ferrier said. "Whether it be from a neurological point of view, oncology, orthopedic -- you name it, we now have that capability.

"This is a full-fledged facility, to take care of all needs," said Ferrier. "Those patients that we cannot see here, we send up to the hospital. But we are here to take care of all patients."

Ferrier added that the PACS eliminates "gaps" in patient care. "Having the PACS system is a great benefit, because this way we can keep data for a number of years," he said. "If a patient has ever had images put in the system, within seconds we can access those images."

The manager described the feedback he has received from patients, who have come to the diagnostic center, as "positive" and "overwhelming." Ferrier said he has been impressed with the capabilities of the diagnostic center thus far.

"Having worked at other larger facilities ... and knowing what they have to offer, personally, I'm just shocked to see what we have here at Henry Medical Center," Ferrier said. "It's second to none."