Testing Site for GE Healthcare Imaging TechnologyIn the field of Radiology, new tools are developed and existing techniques are refined at a fast pace. Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin have led the way in researching clinical uses of new imaging technology.
Because of a unique relationship with General Electric Healthcare, Froedtert & The Medical College enjoy using the latest technological advancements in imaging and are a Beta site for testing new, yet-to-be-released equipment, especially computerized tomography (CT) and nuclear medicine scanners. Froedtert & The Medical College have been GE Healthcare’s primary clinical test site for CT imaging equipment for more than 20 years.
This relationship began in 1977 with the first body CT scanner. Body CT imaging is the dominant imaging equipment used in our collaborative relationship with GE Healthcare.
GE Healthcare provides new clinical and research equipment available nowhere else in the world. Our partnership with GE allows us to provide leading-edge diagnostic and therapeutic tools, such as digital radiography, CT, MRI nuclear medicine PET/CT and CT. GE technology is used in many areas of Froedtert & The Medical College:
Froedtert & The Medical College studies of GE CT technology have set the standard for imaging protocols and clinical applications. These studies include:
- In close collaboration with GE Healthcare, Neuro-imaging at Froedtert & The Medical College has developed the latest CT and magnetic resonance (MR) imaging technology available.
- Nuclear Medicine uses a GE Healthcare combined gamma camera/computed tomography scanner, the second of its kind in the world.
- The Maternal Fetal Care Center was one of the first to use four-dimensional (4-D) ultrasound from GE Healthcare. In addition to showing a fetus from all sides, 4-D ultrasound shows real-time movement of the fetus in the uterus. Froedtert & The Medical College were one of the first in Wisconsin to use 4-D ultrasound.
- Evaluation of CT coronary arteriography (CT angiography)
- Non-cardiac CT angiography (carotid arteries/brain, thoracoabdominal aorta, abdominal visceral and extremity CT angiography)
- Multiphase examinations of abdominal organs, including liver and pancreas and kidneys
Teaching the Next Generation Medical College of Wisconsin faculty in radiology, nuclear medicine and interventional radiology teach students and medical professionals about their specialty areas through a number of programs:
- Residency Programs — The Department of Radiology at the Medical College of Wisconsin offers comprehensive residency programs at Froedtert Hospital.
- Four-year residency in diagnostic radiology (six positions per year)
- Three-year residency in nuclear medicine (two positions per year)
- Fellowship Training — A fellowship is additional training in a specialty field of radiology beyond a physician’s residency training. In the Radiology Department, the Medical College of Wisconsin offers fellowship programs in digital imaging (includes CT, MRI and ultrasound), vascular and interventional radiology, musculoskeletal radiology, neuroradiology, nuclear medicine/PET, thoracic imaging and breast imaging. (A pediatric radiology fellowship is also offered by the Radiology Group at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.)
- PhD Program in Radiology
- Allied Health Professionals
Electronic Recordkeeping (Epic Radiant System)Epic, an electronic medical record system, is being implemented in stages throughout Froedtert & The Medical College. In May 2006, the Radiology Department began using Epic Radiant, the Epic application that automates the imaging functions of a patient’s medical record. Radiant provides a paperless and film-less environment. Patient scheduling, exam processing, reports, billing and tracking of images from other healthcare facilities are just some of the functions that Epic Radiant automates. Epic Radiant allows physicians to view imaging results or the status of an imaging study at any time in the process.
Voice Recognition Dictation System Epic Radiant is integrated with a voice recognition transcription program and the Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS). The voice recognition program transforms a physician’s oral dictation about the results of an imaging exam into a written report. Physicians can see their dictated words instantly and can edit the report as they dictate. The system reduces the time to create a final report for the patient’s medical record.
Digital ImagingIn 2003, the Radiology Department at Froedtert & The Medical College advanced to a filmless, digital imaging and archiving system. Digital imaging refers to the electronic capture, manipulation and storage of radiology images. Digital radiology produces images on computer screens rather than on film. Froedtert & The Medical College were at the forefront in implementing filmless image storage in Wisconsin.
Part of the system consists of a Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS), which allows current and archived radiology images to be distributed electronically and interpreted at computer workstations. PACS is used with all types of medical images — MRI, CT, ultrasound, X-ray and nuclear medicine/PET scans.
With PACS, digital images are sent and received from site to site instantly, allowing for faster diagnosis and prompt feedback to physicians and patients. The digital images can be stored indefinitely, allowing physicians to view images from a computer at any time and track a patient’s history.
Other benefits of digital imaging and storage include:
- Images are stored permanently, eliminating the risk of losing or damaging film. Storing images electronically saves storage space and manpower needed for storing X-ray films
- Current and archived images can be accessed and examined within seconds, eliminating the need to manually locate and deliver X-ray films to a radiologist
- Physicians can enhance and manipulate the images, adjusting the size and contrast to make them easier to read
- Digital images can be sent via a network to other workstations and computer monitors so that many people can share the information and assist in diagnosis, enhancing the exchange of information between radiologists and referring physicians
- Digital images can be retrieved from an archive at any point in the future for reference
Level I Trauma Center Froedtert & The Medical College have a Level 1 Trauma Center, prepared to treat severely injured people around the clock. To meet the needs of patients, imaging services are staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Volume Computed Tomography — Volume Computed Tomography is the most powerful medical CT scanner in the world.
Research Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin are renowned for conducting research in radiology, including research with basic and advanced MRI, CT, informatics and many other programs. All research trials are geared to improving the quality of patient care by offering tools that are less invasive and provide more detailed information to physicians. Major vendors, particularly GE Healthcare, provide new clinical and research equipment available nowhere else in the world.
Research studies include:
- Prism, formerly known as Kyron, is a revolutionary brain-imaging technology that shows the interconnection between brain functions and tumors. With its unique software, Prism helps doctors use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) images to better diagnose and treat brain tumors and other brain diseases. Prism, developed in 2004 by Wauwatosa-based Prism Clinical Imaging Inc., is a spin-off of the Medical College of Wisconsin. The company was founded by three members of the Medical College’s Radiology department faculty. Financial support from Froedtert Hospital is positioning Prism to accelerate product development to bring new tools to physicians and new hope to brain cancer patients with its potential to improve survival and quality of life.
- Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to evaluate blood supply to tumors and using drugs to reduce the supply of blood to slow a tumor’s growth.
- The Medical College of Wisconsin was the major institution involved in a multi-center comparative study of the accuracy of LightSpeed VCT coronary arteriography as compared to selective coronary arteriography. The study has just been completed and the results are being analyzed.
- Using magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to evaluate the blood supply to tumors in the breast and brain (gliomas).
- Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study areas of the brain to better understand the physiology of sight. Current research is aimed at using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to identify and map vision-related areas of the brain to understand the experience of vision — how sensory experience occurs, how it is controlled by the viewer and how it is disrupted by brain damage.
To learn more about this research study, visit http://www.mcw.edu/cellbio/visionlab/index.html.
- Using TheraSphere® to treat liver cancer — Interventional radiologists at Froedtert & The Medical College are studying TheraSphere® to help patients with inoperable liver cancer live longer in greater comfort. This method delivers radiation directly to the tumor with minimal effect to healthy surrounding tissue. A catheter is placed into the femoral artery and guided with fluoroscopy to the hepatic (liver) artery and into the branch that feeds the tumor. Microscopic radioactive beads are infused through the catheter into the blood that supplies the tumor. The blood carries the beads directly into the tumor, with minimal injury to surrounding tissue.
- An interventional radiology trial using radiofrequency ablation to treat liver cancer
Medical PhysicsPhysics is the science of matter and energy and the interactions between the two. Medical physics uses the principles of physics in medicine, especially the physics of diagnostic radiology, nuclear medicine and radiation oncology (for cancer treatment).
Medical physicists are an important part of diagnostic imaging. They oversee the technical foundation of imaging and are concerned with diagnostic procedures that use X-rays, gamma rays, ultrasound, radiofrequency radiation and magnetic sources (magnetic resonance imaging or MRI). Medical physicists establish and evaluate procedures related to equipment use, evaluate and monitor equipment, and consult with radiologists on the use of various imaging systems. They ensure that all new radiology equipment performs as designed and that the optimal level of radiation — the minimum amount needed for diagnosis — is used for each exam.
At Froedtert & The Medical College, medical physicists specialize in different types of imaging, such as MRI, CT, fluoroscopy, ultrasound and X-ray scans. In particular, they participate in quality control and review of all bone density studies, ensuring that imaging tests in the Bone Density Clinic are of the highest quality.
Author: Marla Fraunfelder
Last Review Date: Feb. 14, 2008