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EMMC’s new space offers advanced technology

The new nuclear imaging cameras scan patients for cardiac imaging, infections, as well as some stress fractures.When you’re lying on the table waiting for a scan—palms a little sweaty and nerves heightened—seven or eight minutes can make a big difference. Now, patients receiving nuclear imaging experience a shorter scan time and a more comfortable experience thanks to the new space for EMMC’s Cardiovascular Services located in the hospital's recently constructed Penobscot Pavilion.

The new modernized area provides three nuclear imaging cameras that offer faster imaging and reduce radiation exposure for patients. The space also contains 38 interventional preparation and recovery bays, and improves the hospital’s ability to perform transesophageal echocardiograms (a cardiac ultrasound through the esophagus).

The new nuclear imaging cameras scan patients for cardiac imaging, infections, as well as some stress fractures. Cardiac imaging time has been reduced by roughly seven minutes per scan, and the cameras also produce better quality images, enabling physicians to make diagnoses with more specificity, which could lead to an overall quicker course of care.

“This is state-of-the-art technology,” explains Laura Huff, CNMT, RTR, BS, manager of Non-Invasive Cardiology, Nuclear Imaging, and PET CT at Eastern Maine Medical Center (EMMC). “The reduction in time is a much-welcomed change for our patients, especially those who might be uncomfortable or antsy during a scan.”

The move also brings together services that were previously disconnected, which will enhance communication and streamline the workflow. “We’ve already had our first flow of patients through here,” said Jeremey McCormick, CNMT, supervisor for Nuclear Medicine, on the first patient day. “Everything has gone very well due to the extensive planning and time everyone has put in. It’s definitely paid off. We’ve found a few learning curves here and there but operations overall have gone very well.”

In addition to these advancements, the new area merges EMMC’s Outpatient Observation Unit, where patients prepare for cardiac operating room procedures, with the prep and recovery area for interventional procedures and radiology.  

“Now, they don’t have to go to multiple locations,” says Erica Parker, RN, BSN, assistant nurse manager, Interventional Prep and Recovery. “We have one check-in, they present here, and we’ll bring them back. Previously, patients would go to three different departments, now they’ll just go to one location.”

For more on EMMC’s Modernization Project, visit Modernization.EMMC.org.