New MRI Offers Higher Quality, Lower Anxiety Scans

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Mon, July 23, 2018 -- Hutchinson Regional Healthcare System
MRI room with nebula skylight

The latest imaging technology is now available to patients of Hutchinson Regional Medical Center, with the installation of a state-of-the-art magnetic resonance imaging scanner (MRI). This new MRI gives patients a better experience, shortening scan times and greatly improving imaging.

The updated MRI is located within the hospital’s new Intensive Care Unit (ICU) which will be opened in August. The MRI is already being used for patients.

We are very excited about what this will mean for our patients as they will have access to scanning technology more often found in large metropolitan areas, which will provide physicians the quality information they need to deliver the best treatment options.

Our Siemen’s Magnetom Aera 48 coil 1.5 Tesla MRI scanner is the most advanced MRI technology available in South Central and Southwest Kansas, capable of producing incredibly high-resolution images of internal organs - particularly the heart, intestines, and prostate. The machine’s powerful components, coupled with cutting-edge software, also reduces blurs and common imaging errors created from anxiety-induced patient movement.

In addition to its imaging capabilities and flexibility, the new MRI will give patients a better testing experience. The machine’s design allows for the patient’s head to remain outside the machine for many scans, eliminating the “claustrophobic” feeling many patients experience. It’s also more comfortable for larger patients, is 70 percent quieter than conventional MRI’s, and takes less time to secure a better image.

Additionally, the Siemen’s Magnetom Aera 48 coil 1.5 contains many other features with the patient in mind. Its “dockable” table will mean less prep and set up time for each test, and LED “mood” lights can be customized to the patient’s color preference as another way to reduce the anxiety sometimes associated with MRI scans.

Other features of the MRI designed to improve quality of service and care are:

  • It provides quicker exam times due to its state of the art efficiency.
  • The advanced software package also features improved multi-phase imaging, enabling providers to receive more images in a shorter period of time.

Wes Hoyt, COO for HRHS, has overseen the ICU construction project and notes that the MRI upgrade is a vast improvement over the system it is replacing. “Our patients will see a number of benefits,” Wes said. “From beginning to end, the experience will be greatly improved, all while providing the best images to guide treatment. This MRI is the best in Central Kansas and ensures that our patients will have the latest technology available for years to come.”

We are grateful to the Hutchinson Regional Medical Foundation (HRMF) for recognizing the need for this investment and for making it possible through a $2.7 million donation. The new MRI came online in July.

Jim Gilliland serves as President of the foundation and explained the rationale that lead the foundation to approve the contribution. “The Foundation wants to make sure that anyone in our community can receive the best care in a great facility with the best equipment,” Jim said. “Thanks to the upgrades of the last few years, Hutchinson Regional Medical Center will have the best emergency, intensive, and diagnostic units in the region. That is the kind of result the Foundation was created to achieve.”

In 2017, HRMC performed 1,419 MRI studies, or roughly 4 procedures per day. With the advanced MRI technology, HRMC expects to see that number increase in the coming years. Patients can directly request the use of the newest technology in the region by calling HRMC directly at 620-665-2000. There are also payment options for imaging through a company called MDSave. This option is geared towards patients utilizing a high deductible plan or the under-insured patient.

Removing the old MRI is the final task of an improvement project of this magnitude. Soon, a crane stretching 27 stories in the sky above HRMC will lift the discontinued MRI through a hole in the hospital’s roof before lowering the unit on the back of a semi-truck parked on the hospital campus for transportation back to the equipment vendor, Siemens.

The new Intensive Care Unit will begin treating patients in August. The improvements at Hutchinson Regional Medical Center are all designed to provide the very best medical care possible to you and your family, at the times you need it most.