EAST GREENWICH — Rhode Island Medical Imaging will be making some serious improvements with a new Breast Imaging Center opening across the hall, and the installation of a new MRI scanner.
Located at 1351 South County Trail, East Greenwich, the new Breast Imaging Center looks to be the first of its kind to offer clients a comforting boutique feel. Instead of hospital gowns, for example, patients with be supplied with robes and cold drinks. Combine this with a team of top of the class radiologists, and you get a one-of-a-kind experience.
“What’s different about this place is the boutique feel,” said Director of Mammography Dr. Linda Donegan. “It is all our hospital breast imaging equipment, in a place with a spa feeling. There is nothing else like this in Rhode Island—something that will give you a spa feel with state-of-the-art equipment serving South County.”
The new center will include a patient consult room, a room to conduct biopsies just like in hospitals, a gown waiting area for patients already changed and awaiting results and two full service ultra sound rooms. All of these were added to give the center the most convenient and comfortable setting possible.
“The rooms where we conduct biopsies are similar to the ones you will find in a hospital,” said Rhode Island Medical Imaging’s Director of Operations Janet Hatch. “The only differences are these will be bigger, because there are a lot of people in there usually, and it will be in an outpatient setting. So it will be nice for the patient to not have to drive up to the city, or bother with the drama of a hospital.”
Mammography, a technique that uses X-rays to locate tumors or anything else of concern in the breast tissue, will be done on site. This allows a nerve-wracking experience to be a much easier one of the patients. Some people, like Donegan, believe outpatient centers are the way of the future.
“I think patients love it,” said Donegan. “Again what’s unique is the combination of a state of the art, full service, breast center with that boutique feeling, that spa feeling. So we have had excellent feedback from patients. I think that is where everything is moving towards— outpatient patient-centered practices. So what we are doing is offering what we would normally do in a hospital setting, in a comfortable outpatient setting.”
Currently there are two types of mammograms; the first is the screening mammogram, done at all RIMI locations including Barrington, Coventry, Cranston, East Providence, both Lincoln locations, North Providence, Pawtucket, Providence, Warren and Warwick. The second type is a diagnostic mammogram. Previously those procedures could only be done at locations in Providence and East Providence, but once this new center opens, East Greenwich will be added to that short list.
“Screening mammograms are done at all of our locations but are read centrally by a breast specialist,” said Donegan. “Those are patients that don’t have any symptoms. They come in to get their images. Their results are ready the next day or a couple days later, but they have no active problems. The other type is the diagnostic mammogram, which is for someone who has a problem. You have had a screening mammogram, and we are looking at something that we want to make sure isn’t something that needs a biopsy, or anything that needs to be worried about. Or you have a symptom like pain or a lump, something like that. These patients are waiting for real-time results, extra images, ultra sounds, and they will leave here knowing exactly what it is, and if it is a problem or not.”
Also added to the facility is a new four-ton MRI machine. The machine needed two trucks, a crane, and about 10-12 people to get it into the building. In order to get the MRI into the building, one of the sidewalls needed to be removed.
“This is a second MRI machine in the facility,” said Hatch. “This is the newest version of the MR2’s. It has a bigger gantry, that space that you fit into, so it is a lot more comfortable for patients.”
The opening of this version is 70 centimeters wide, 10 more than the average machine. It is expected to cut exam times by 20 percent, while also providing patients with clearer images in a faster time.
RIMI’s Breast Imaging Center will be opening in mid-August, but patients can begin scheduling appointments now by calling 401-432-2400.