(CHICAGO) — Rush University Medical Center’s new breast imaging center opened June 3, featuring upgraded facilities, two spaces separating screening mammograms from diagnostic examinations and equipment to provide a more convenient, reassuring experience for patients.
The two spaces at Rush’s Professional Building (1725 W. Harrison St. in Chicago) separate screening mammograms from diagnostic examinations, allowing Rush to customize the experience for patients during an emotional time.
Breast screenings — which are recommended annually for women 40 and older and for younger high-risk women — are used to detect abnormalities early, when they are most treatable. Diagnostic imaging is used to diagnose lumps and other abnormalities in the breast that may be indicative of cancer and to determine the extent to which cancer has advanced.
Screening mammography is conducted on the ground floor of the building for quick, easy access. The space is designed for rapid patient flow and a soothing environment and includes individual rooms for privacy. Due to strong demand for service, the previous location was often crowded as it accommodated both women for routine screenings as well as those who were there for extensive diagnostic screenings.
Diagnostic mammagrapy for women who are already undergoing treatment, or are returning after a mammogram that showed a suspicious lump, is located on the seventh floor. Diagnostic mammography visits are usually lengthier appointments in order to most effectively attend to patients’ needs. The diagnostic space is divided into pods — each with ultrasound, and reading and consultation rooms — eliminating the need for patients to travel to more than one location during a single visit.
“We wanted to separate the patient populations to make things easier and more comfortable for each group,” said Dr. Peter Jokich, director of the Section of Breast Imaging at Rush and associate professor of radiology. “Providing diagnostic imaging patients with a facility of their own creates a more relaxed atmosphere for people who already may be anxious.”
The two new facilities use the latest available digital imaging equipment with the addition of ultrasound in the diagnostic mammography unit. Designated a Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology (ACR), Rush’s program employs only board-certified radiologists who specialize in breast imaging. Rush’s high level of care has resulted in strong demand for these services. Each day, the center sees between 100 and 120 patients, divided about evenly between patients receiving screenings and diagnostic exams.
The new facilities feature soothing decor, including earth tone colors and soft lighting. Each of the mammography rooms include a television screen that projects comforting images such as waterfalls and beaches. Ultrasound rooms, where patients are screened lying on their backs, have soothing scenes on the ceilings.
Jokich hopes these changes will enable Rush to provide outstanding breast imaging services to more patients even as the quality of these services increases.
“We already have a very experienced and skilled team of physicians and technologists,” he said. “Now we’ve added these beautiful facilities and incredible equipment to a great team of people.”