BroMenn's New Imaging Technology Improves Patients' Results and Comfort

 BroMenn is one of just five hospitals in the nation to install the new combination MRI and imaging suite technology that lets patients choose what they see and hear during the scan.

BroMenn is one of just five hospitals in the nation to install the new combination MRI and imaging suite technology that lets patients choose what they see and hear during the scan.

New imaging technology at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center will help doctors better find and treat cancer and a range of other health problems.

The hospital’s new CT and SPEC/CT scanners produce higher quality images using lower doses of radiation and IV contrast. Brenda Downen, BroMenn’s Director of Radiology, said the images help surgeons pinpoint tumors and other internal issues. With less invasive, shorter procedures, patients have better outcomes and faster recovery times.

The technology is unlike any available elsewhere in Bloomington-Normal and can be used to diagnose and treat cancers like brain cancer, breast cancer and melanoma, as well as heart, lung and other issues.

Patients receiving breast cancer screenings also have access to the GE’s Automated Breast Ultrasound (ABUS), added at the hospital’s Bloomington outpatient center in 2016.

GE Healthcare Market Development Specialist Julie Hamilton said for the 40% of U.S. women with dense breast tissue, mammograms often aren’t enough to detect up to one third of breast cancers. With the new technology, doctors can more easily spot tumors that are often masked in these patients’ mammography images, leading to earlier detection and more effective intervention.

The hospital also recently installed an MRI unit and imaging suite meant to ease patients’ anxiety by allowing them to choose what they see and hear during the scan.

“In healthcare today, patients don’t have a lot of control,” said Blayne Seidl, Chief Sales Officer for Sentient, the company that designed the imaging suite. “We’re giving them a little bit of that control back.”

Seidl said BroMenn is one of just five hospitals in the nation to install the new combination MRI and imaging suite technology.

Patients can select from a variety of preloaded themes like “Tropical Beach” and “Space” that change the audio, colors and images displayed in the room.

During the scan, patients lie down in a wide-open bore unlike the closed-tube design of traditional MRIs that can make claustrophobic patients uncomfortable. The open design also allows patients to choose from pre-loaded movies or bring their own to watch. The images are displayed on a screen across from the patient’s head and viewed with an overhead mirror.

“It looks like just fluff, but it goes deeper than that,” said Brenda Downen, Director of Radiology at Advocate BroMenn.

Downen said the upgrades are particularly helpful in treating children who may find hospitals frightening. The ability to watch their favorite movie or show means children often forget about the scan, allowing staff to reduce or eliminate sedation. The machine’s quieter operations also help make the procedure less intimidating.