Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley has announced several upgrades and improvements within its radiology department at the Beeghly campus. These include the installation of new equipment, software upgrades, and redesigned rooms and machinery to create a more efficient and child-friendly environment.
The enhancements are primarily funded by a recent $1 million donation from the Kikel Charitable Trust, an estate plan created by area sisters Josephine, Angela and Jenny Kikel, to support pediatric healthcare in the Mahoning Valley.
“We are grateful for the Kikel gift, without which these upgrades and improvements would not have been possible,” said Sharon Hrina, vice president of Akron Children’s Mahoning Valley.
Many of the upgrades allow patients to stay closer to home, decreasing the need to travel outside of the Mahoning Valley region for specialized care.
The hospital’s new transcranial doppler equipment plays an important role in its sickle cell screening program. The technology uses ultrasound waves to measure the velocity and speed of blood vessels, which is instrumental in the detection of at-risk stroke in sickle cell patients.
Akron Children’s Hospital is now the only location in the Mahoning Valley that provides this type of test and service.
Akron Children's nuclear department has also installed new imaging equipment, allowing for faster patient scan times and improved image quality. The new camera enables patients to receive special nuclear exams, which were previously only offered at the Akron campus.
An MRI-compatible general anesthesia machine allows technicians to service patients who require general anesthesia for their MRI examinations. Previously, patients were transported to the Akron campus for MRI examinations that required general anesthesia. The MRI service will be available to patients in January 2012.
With the various department upgrades and technologies comes faster, more accurate testing, and reduction in patient radiation exposure.
Akron Children's has begun installation of a specially designed digital radiographic procedure room, as well as 16-slice CT scanning equipment. Both allow for faster positioning and imaging of young patients, and are equipped with low-dose imaging technology.
The 16-slice CT scanning equipment will also help radiologists to simultaneously evaluate multiple images of the body at different angles, up to eight times faster than previous technology.
In addition to improved technology for patient testing, there is improved technology for test analysis. Akron Children's radiology department is undergoing a major software upgrade, which allows staff to collect and analyze images from outside medical facilities, eliminating the need to perform repeat examinations.
One of the most noticeable upgrades within the department will be the new, child-friendly paint and decals, seen on the radiological equipment and several of the examination rooms.
Equip Art, a Cincinnati-based equipment design company, will paint and decal the department – complete with bright colors, characters and whimsical designs. The designs will complement the existing theme of the Akron Children’s Mahoning Valley space and create a brighter, more cheerful space for young patients.
“The upgrades in radiology, like our sickle cell screenings, advanced imaging technology and redesigns are much more than simple changes," said Hrina "These changes signify that we are developing and implementing ways to improve the lives of local families, which speaks directly to the family-centered care we offer our patients and families. These upgrades are another way that we can offer local patients access to the world-class treatment and medical care that they deserve.”
Many of the department’s services, as well as its team of board-certified pediatric radiologists, radiology nurses and technologists, are available 24/7.
The enhancements to the hospital’s radiology services will continue now through early 2012.
Kikel dollars used to expand radiology services in Mahoning Valley
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