WESTFIELD - Westfield Memorial Hospital is continuing to improve its health care offerings.
On Tuesday, Marcy 20, the hospital held a ribbon cutting ceremony for its brand new Women's Wellness Suite. Employees and community members took a tour of the area, getting to see the new technology as well as the welcoming, relaxing design of the space.
"We're overjoyed," Westfield Memorial Hospital Radiology Manager Laura M. LaShomb said. "We love it. We're so excited and so happy and the feedback that we're getting from our patients, that's what makes it so much better."
Photo by Jenna Loughlin
The Westfield Memorial Hospital recently held a ribbon cutting ceremony for its new Women’s Wellness Suite, complete with brand new digital mammography equipment as well and a space renovated to be welcoming and relaxing for patients. Pictured above, from left to right, are: Westfield Memorial Hospital Radiologist Dr. John Reiser; Westfield Memorial Hospital Director Kandy Susi; Westfield Memorial Hospital Radiology Manager Laura M. LaShomb; and the Chairman of the Westfield Memorial Hospital Board Helen Baran.
"We're very excited to have state of the art mammography and the opportunity to serve the women of the community and meet women's health care needs," Westfield Memorial Hospital Director Kandy Susi said.
After a six month long process, the suite saw its first patient at 1 p.m., on Wednesday, March 14. The suite boasts a brand new, state of the art digital mammography machine, a Hologic Selenia Dimensions, as well as a calming atmosphere. The hospital paid for the equipment with New York State grants and the renovations were paid for by contributions from the Westfield Memorial Hospital Auxiliary.
"We paid special attention to creating an environment of relaxation for our patients to help alleviate any anxieties they may experience getting a mammogram," LaShomb, who selected the device and was key in the renovations, said. "Our goal was to make the experience as comfortable as possible."
"I'm elated that we have this equipment in Westfield and the beautiful room that was decorated by the members of the radiology department, a lot of lovely artwork," Chairman of the Westfield Memorial Hospital Board Helen Baran said. "This is the most modern, up-to-date type of equipment and procedure that can be offered and we're very happy to have it in Westfield,"
Susi agreed, saying those involved did a really great job of renovating the area.
The digital mammography machine does away with the use of film, thus eliminating the need for a reexamination due to over or under exposure, and its images are stored and transferred electronically, allowing for a great capacity to interpret and diagnose at a much faster pace. This ability to greatly improve turnaround time will also allow those patients who need treatment to start it sooner.
"The quality of the images are so sharp and advanced, the radiologists are able to detect a greater difference in tissue densities and differences," LaShomb said.
The unit also came with supporting tools like smart paddles, which have more flexibility, and Digital Now allows hard copy images to be digitized into the hospital's picture archiving system. The hospital also has an on-site advanced R2Cad which marks breast tissue areas that may require further imaging. In addition, the unit is also upgradeable, so that in the future WMH can accommodate new innovations such as tomosynthesis, a 3D imaging scan of the breast.
"We recognize the standards of care and the needs of the community and we wanted to ensure that we will be providing accessible, quality care for our patients," LaShomb said.
Three different machines were evaluated and after an in depth analysis and input from WMH technicians and physicians, Susi said the selected unit was chosen based on the needs of the hospital's patients and the quality of the equipment.
"We need to be up to date," Baran said. "We are and we have been very sensitive to the fact that in women's health, breast cancer is one of the leading problems that we need to get diagnosed quickly and taken care of. ... It will make it much easier exam."
Susi believes the suite will bring women to WMH, noting the volume has already increased since the machine was put in place. While there are other hospitals in the area with similar technology, LaShomb is confident women will choose WMH because of the hospital's quality, staff and specially designed suite.
"I think that, hopefully, more women will return back to our facility and take advantage of our quality services and our exceptional staff that we have," she said. "What makes us stand out from the others, the difference is our staff."
Just last week, LaShomb had a women comment to her about how wonderful the suite is and how calm and relaxed she felt.
"Just hearing that from the patient made it all worthwhile," LaShomb said.
"Patients have really enjoyed the comfortable surrounds," Susi said.
When asked what the new technology means to WMH, Baran said, "It means that we're moving forward and that we're ready and willing to meet the needs of the communities and people that we serve. ... I'm just terribly proud that little Westfield Memorial Hospital now can offer the same kind of diagnostic procedure that the big guys have."
This digital mammography unit will be used for all women of all ages for both annual and doctor recommended appointments. LaShomb also stressed women should perform monthly self-exams which, when paired with the faster exam and turnaround time of results, can lead to early detection of breast cancer.
"Early detection is the key, and self breast exams," LaShomb said. "I can't stress that enough. ... We know our bodies the best and we're going to recognize any changes."
And while this suite is just the latest example of improvements at WMH, it is certainly not the last.
"We're looking forward to other wonderful things happening at Westfield Memorial," Baran said.
To make an appointment for a digital mammogram at Westfield Memorial Hospital, contact the radiology scheduler at 716-793-2221. Digital mammography is offered Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and Wednesdays until 5:30 p.m. Saturday appointments will be available soon.