BCHC takes delivery of high tech MRI

UNLOADING NEW MRI — Workers unloading the new Hitachi Echelon Oval™ 1.5T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system at Boone County Health Center this past weekend. BCHC Photo

Despite blustery weather, the new Hitachi Echelon Oval™ 1.5T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system arrived on two semi-trucks at Boone County Health Center the past weekend.
The Echelon Oval is the only one of its kind in Nebraska and offers the industry’s widest opening and patient table. The wide table allows for more access and less discomfort to a variety of patients, from pediatric to bariatric, claustrophobic to geriatric, and all people in between, said the BCHC staff.
The new MRI system includes powerful technology and an ultra-fast workstation to make patient exams as quick and smooth as possible. Its imaging power is boosted by an array of anatomically-specific, optimized receiver coils that allow advanced imaging applications ranging from vascular and orthopedic to women’s health.
“With this machine, we have the best of the best compared to hospitals any place in the state, including Lincoln and Omaha,” said Holly Carraher, RT. “In the past, we had to send patients to other facilities for certain tests, but now we can do it all right here in Albion.”
The new MRI system is much smaller than the old and was brought into the building in just one day. It will take two weeks to set up. The first week will be spent hooking up power, replacing walls and recertifying the shield. After that, engineers will perform many tests for quality assurance.
Magnetic resonance imaging is all about physics, and the MRI room has to be shielded with the correct amount of copper. Engineers from Hitachi will configure the room so that no magnetic frequencies can get outside the walls, and no outside frequencies can get into the room, so the system can capture the best images possible while keeping everyone safe.
After the finishing touches and safety measures are in place, BCHC staff will start performing MRI exams in-house once again, with the help of a specialized Hitachi trainer.
“With this new machine, the physics, patient positioning and anatomy are the same, but we will need to learn the software, where the knobs are, and what the Echelon Oval all has to offer,” said Melissa Wiese, RT. “For two weeks, we will be given on-the-job training about the machine from experts at the company that made it.”
The Echelon Oval will allow Boone County Health Center to offer patients access to the most advanced diagnostic imaging techniques now available in the health care industry.
“If a provider or specialist says you need an MRI, tell them you want it done in Albion. They may not know we have this great technology, but you do and you can tell them,” advised Cindra Steinbach, RT. She expressed the view that BCHC can provide the same or better images than facilities in larger cities.