Take a look inside: Magnetic Resonance Imaging

      Magnetic Resonance Imaging - MRIMagnetic Resonance Imaging ? MRI ? is one of the most important developments in the field of medicine in the past 30 years. MRIs have become a virtual workhorse, allowing physicians to locate tumors and cysts, evaluate joint damage, pinpoint the cause of back pain, and diagnose a wide variety of conditions.

      MRI technology has saved patients millions of dollars in healthcare expense; shortened time to diagnosis (and thus, treatment); allowed patients to avoid exposure to radiation; and improved the quality and length of lives of people across the U.S.

      How does MRI differ from other types of medical imaging?
      First, MRI studies are performed using magnetic fields. This is unique in the diagnostic imaging world, where most studies (with the exception of ultrasound) use ionizing radiation to create images of the body. There is no radiation exposure during an MRI. Instead, the equipment uses a very strong magnetic field to align the spin of hydrogen protons in the cells of the body and radio waves to cause the protons to wobble. As they wobble, the emit radio waves, which are detected by sensors in the machine.

      Tissues that contain more water, such as muscles or the brain, emit stronger radio signals. Tissues that contain less water, such as bones, emit weaker signals. As it turns out, this is a perfect alignment of capabilities: X-rays are great at imaging dense tissues, such as bone, and poor at imaging soft tissues, such as muscles and brain.

      You?ll sometimes hear MRI machines referred to as ?3T? or ?1.5T.? These terms refer to the strength of the magnet in relationship to the magnetic field of the earth. The larger the number, the stronger the magnetic field. (The T, by the way, honors Nikola Tesla, an electrical engineer and rival of Thomas Edison. He?s best known for his advocacy of and contributions to the development of the modern alternating current (AC) electrical system).

      At Lexington Diagnostic Center and Open MRI, we have three MRI units:
      ? Our 0.6T open MRI is great for people with varying body types and those who have claustrophobia. The unit provides quality images and is open on three sides, making it possible for people who might not otherwise be able to undergo MRI to have this important test.

      ? Our 1.5T high field MRI is open on both ends, provides faster scans, and high-quality images.

      ? The 3T unit also is open on both ends and provides excellent quality, high-
      resolution images. It is excellent for orthopedic, neuro and prostate imaging.

      One of the great benefits for patients with MRI technology is that family members are usually able to accompany them in the scan room without risk of radiation exposure. Patients are able to listen to their own music (or ours) and are often in and out in less than an hour, with no restrictions on the rest of their day.

      Lexington Diagnostic Center and Open MRI has been serving the needs of patients in this area for more than 30 years, providing high-quality imaging studies; compassionate, patient-centered care; great value; and easy access to needed services.

      ?One of the most important things people need to realize about diagnostic imaging is that they can choose where they will have their testing done? said Davonna Saier, marketing director for Lexington Diagnostic Center. ?Often people think they have to go to the hospital where their doctor is for testing, but that?s not the case.?

      Because medical imaging is all lexington Diagnostic Center does, the Center is able to save its patients hundreds of dollars off the price of the same exam performed at a hospital ? These days, when patients are responsible for more and more of their healthcare costs, it really pays to shop around,? Saier said.

      In addition, the cost of reading and interpreting the MRI exam (the radiologist fee) is included. Lexington Diagnostic Center patients save significantly, while receiving top-notch care and quality.

      Affordable, Effective Lung Cancer Screening at Lexington Diagnostic Center

      Affordable, Effective Lung Cancer Screening at Lexington Diagnostic CenterIt should come as no surprise that Kentucky leads the nation in lung cancer deaths, especially when you consider another dubious distinction the Commonwealth holds: the highest smoking rates in the nation.

      Because smoking is the No. 1 cause of lung cancer, the single most important thing you can do to reduce your risk of developing lung cancer is to stop smoking. The minute you stop smoking, your body begins to heal and your risk starts to fall. Within two months of stopping, your lung function begins to improve; after 10 years, your risk of being diagnosed with lung cancer is 30 to 50 percent of that of a smoker.

      Regardless of whether you?ve recently quit smoking, you quit five years ago, or you continue to smoke, as they age, most people begin to think about their lungs and the damage they?ve inflicted by smoking. Unfortunately, there hasn?t always been a good way to detect lung cancer early, when the chances for a cure are greatest.

      A few years ago, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) came out in support of a screening exam that a large-scale study demonstrated was effective at finding lung cancer early. The test is called low-dose computed tomography, or LDCT. At Lexington Diagnostic Center and Open MRI, we?ve been offering this testing for over a decade, even before the USPSTF published its findings.

      Along with the USPSTF support came a recommendation that people at high risk for developing lung cancer receive the screening every year. As a result, private insurers (such as Anthem, Cigna and United Healthcare) may cover the cost of the exam for eligible patients, as do Medicare and Medicaid.

      Who?s eligible for the screening
      The criteria for the screening are strict, but are based in medical research. To be eligible for the screening:

      • The individual must be between the ages of 55 and 80 (Medicare coverage to age 77 only) and in good enough health to withstand potential treatment for cancer, should something be found.
      • The person must have a 30-year pack history of smoking. A 30-year pack history means the patient smoked about a pack a day for 30 years, or two packs a day for 15 years, and so on.
      • The individual may currently smoke, or may have quit smoking less than 15 years ago. Congrats ? after 15 years as a non-smoker, former smokers are no longer considered to be high risk!
      • Annual screening is to be discontinued when the patient has been smoke-free for 15 years or if their health declines to a level at which they would no longer be able (or interested) in curative treatment for lung cancer.


      It may seem odd that people who have symptoms of lung cancer are not eligible for the screening. But remember, the screening is designed to detect cancer early. If you have symptoms, by definition, early detection is off the table and a different set of protocols applies.

      What does the screening involve?
      The screening is quick, simple and painless. Patients are taken to a private room, where they may be asked to change into an exam gown. They are then positioned on a table and the technologist leaves the room. The technologist will be in constant contact with the patient throughout the exam. The table will move into the CT tube and a series of X-rays will be taken. Patients may be asked to hold their breath for short periods of time. When the exam is finished, the table will move out of the tube and the technologist will assist the patient from the table. The actual exam takes no more than 10 minutes.

      The images will be read by LDC?s radiologist and the findings sent to the referring physician within two business days.

      The Lexington Diagnostic Center advantage
      Lexington Diagnostic Center and Open MRI has been performing low-dose CT screenings for lung cancer longer than any facility in the area. Our technologists and physicians are very experienced in LDCT and very sensitive to the concerns of our patients.

      Just as importantly, low-dose CT screening at Lexington Diagnostic Center is affordable. Because imaging is the focus of our business, we keep our costs low and pass the savings on to our patients. LDCT screening at Lexington Diagnostic Center is hundreds of dollars less expensive than a screening performed at a local hospital. We accept all major insurance plans and will work closely with you, your physician and your insurance company to ensure coverage for the test. You will know up front what your cost is ? no surprise bills 30, 60 or 90 days later!

      Want to know more?
      Talk with your primary care provider about low-dose CT screening for lung cancer and let them know you want to go to Lexington Diagnostic Center and Open MRI for testing. Or, give us a call at 859-278-7226, or contact us via our website at?LexingtonDiagnostic.com.

      At Lexington Diagnostic Center, We Love Our Doctors?

      Dr. Privett Lexington Diagnostic Center and Open MRIWhen you hear the word doctor, your mind naturally goes to those physicians with whom you interact ? your family doctor, cardiologist, even the physician who treated you in the emergency department.

      Patients don?t often realize that there are many other physicians involved in their care; doctors they never see. In celebration of National Doctor?s Day on March 30, we wanted to celebrate our three physicians by pulling back the curtain on these highly trained and dedicated specialists.

      George Privett, M.D.
      Dr. Privett received his medical degree from Baylor University College of Medicine and completed internship and residency in Internal Medicine and Neurology at the University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center and served as Chief of Neurology at Womack Army Hospital in Fort Bragg, N.C.

      Dr. Privett is a member of American Academy of Neurology, American Society of Neuroimaging, American Medical Association, Kentucky Medical Association and Lexington Medical Society. He practiced Clinical Neurology and Neuroimaging from 1974-1998; currently practices Neuroimaging and is the Medical Director and owner of Lexington Diagnostic Center & OPEN MRI.

      Q. Where are you from originally?
      A. Slaton, Texas

      Q. What extracurricular activities did you participate in in high school/college?
      A. I played football in seventh grade. After that I was in the Slaton High School Marching Band and was Drum Major my senior year. I marched with the Texas Tech Red Raider Marching band 2 years.

      Q. When did you first realize you wanted to be a physician?
      A. For as long as I can remember

      Q. How did you come to radiology?
      A. Through neurology. When CT scanning came along and allowed the amazing pictures of the brain.

      Q. If you weren?t a physician, what would you be?
      A. A travel photographer.

      Q. What do you like about your job?
      A. I like radiology because of the amazing, non-invasive things it can show inside the body.

      Q. Tell us a little about your family.
      A. I have an amazing blended family and everyone gets along very well. My wife, Nawanna, is a brilliant educator and is sitting for the second term on the Kentucky State Board of Education.

      Q. What are your past-times or hobbies?
      A. Photography. I love the colors that abound in nature. Singing, particularly classical. I love the way harmonies, melodies and counterpoints come together to make a great song.

      Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?
      A. Lexington, Ky.

      Q. What makes Lexington Diagnostic Center and Open MRI a great place to practice?
      A. At LDC there is a culture of friendliness, cooperation and team playing, with the emphasis on the patient, who comes first.

      Robert Pope, D.O.
      Dr. Pope is a board-certified radiologist fellowship trained in musculoskeletal radiology. He completed his residency at Michigan State University, and is a graduate of Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr. Pope served in the Air Force and practiced at Joint Base Balad-Air Force Theater Hospital Iraq where he was Chief Radiologist. He served as staff radiologist at Eglin Air Force Base where he was the director of MRI and Mammography Services. Dr. Pope is experienced in all aspects of medical imagining with an interest in musculoskeletal MRI and joint and epidural injections.

      Q. Where are you from originally?
      A. Lexington

      Q. What school did you attend?
      A. Henry Clay

      Q. What extracurricular activities did you participate in in high school/college?
      A. Wrestling team at Henry Clay. Helped cultivate a competitive spirit. We didn?t get ribbons for participation.

      Q. When did you first realize you wanted to be a physician?
      A. As a young kid.

      Q. How did you come to radiology?
      A.? It was a good combination of diagnostic challenges and getting to work with really all branches of medicine.

      Q. If you weren?t a physician, what would you be?
      A. BBQ Pit Master

      Q. What do you like about being a radiologist?
      A. Getting to make diagnoses and help people on their way to treating their conditions.

      Q. What are your past-times/hobbies?
      A. Golf, fishing, music. I find them relaxing.

      Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?
      A. On a boat.

      Q. What makes Lexington Diagnostic Center and Open MRI a great place to practice?
      A. We save patients money.

      Jason Harris, M.D.
      Dr. Harris is a board-certified radiologist, fellowship trained in musculoskeletal radiology. He completed his radiology residency at University of Cincinnati and earned his medical degree at University of Louisville. Dr. Harris completed his musculoskeletal fellowship at the Medical College of Virginia. He is experienced in all facets of radiology with an emphasis in musculoskeletal MRI and epidural steroid injections.

      Q. Where are you from originally?
      A. Louisville, Ky. I attended St. Xavier.
      Q. When did you first realize you wanted to be a physician?
      A. I can?t remember a time when it wasn?t a consideration. I became serious about becoming a physician in college.

      Q. How did you come to radiology?
      A. The American Board of Radiology administered the oral board examination for the entire country every spring in Louisville for over 35 years. My mom and I both worked the examination, and I got a chance to know some of the best radiologist in the country. It was always a field that I was interested in practicing.

      Q. If you weren?t a physician, what would you be?
      A. A teacher, probably in high school.

      Q. What do you like about being a radiologist?
      A. Radiology is one of the most challenging fields in all of medicine. You really have to have a strong knowledge base in many different areas of medicine in order to communicate with referring physicians and participate in taking care of patients. I love to learn, and I learn something every day in radiology.

      Q. Do you have any past-times or hobbies?
      A. I enjoy spending time with my family, exercising/outdoors, reading, fishing and traveling.

      Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?
      A. Right here in Kentucky. I have traveled all over the world, and have lived in five different states. The more I travel, the more I realize how special Kentucky is to me, and it is where my family lives.

      Q. What makes Lexington Diagnostic Center and Open MRI a great place to practice?
      A. LDC provides imaging services to our community at an affordable cost. The health care industry has made it difficult for imaging centers like LDC to survive. I am proud to be part of the LDC team, who strive to treat our patients like family.

      Valentines From The Staff At Lexington Diagnostic Center

      Valentines From Lexington Diagnostic Center

      In February, we traditionally spend at least a few hours thinking about those we love ? our children, our parents, our spouses, our ?significant others.? But what about those we work with? At Lexington Diagnostic Center and Open MRI, we think of one another as family. During this, the month of love, we wanted to share our ?valentines? with you!

      ?I truly love working at LDC. Yes, it?s a great place to work but it?s the people that make coming to work easy, fun, and worthwhile. I see these people probably more than I see my own family so not only are they my co-workers, they are more like family. If anything, I know I?ve met lifelong friends.?
      ? Teresa Morris, administrative assistant

      ?There are so many reasons I love working here. One reason is the administration recognizes employee?s talents beyond their job responsibilities and very few places even attempt that. Personally, I love giving my patients attention in teaching them about their exam, listening to their concerns, and educating them just a little about the system. Every day I get to take care of a patient I am taught something and that just makes me a better tech and person,?
      ? Karen Harter, nuclear medicine technologist

      ?I could not ask to be a part of a better organization! LDC truly cares about every person; their commitment to integrity and quality is limitless! I love my LDC Family!?
      ? Cat Way, radiology technologist

      ?I have worked in three departments in the six years I have been at Lexington Diagnostic Center, and each department has wonderful, compassionate and very capable people. I think we have the best staff around, from our doctors to our tech aides, the front desk to the billing office and administration. We really care about the work we do and the patients we care for. LDC is like a second family to me and I am proud to work here.?
      ? Anna McKinney, office assistant

      ?One thing that makes LDC such a wonderful place to work is the open atmosphere with management.? We have the most amazing management of anywhere I have worked.? And no one here has ever been too busy to ?jump in? and just work. The staff go above and beyond when it comes to teamwork.? It?s nice to work somewhere where people realize that you are human.?
      ? Darrell Maines, billing specialist

      ?I?ve never met a more compassionate, hardworking, kind and considerate group of people. I enjoy coming to work and being around these people ? this family ? and doing what I love to do, which is help people, listen and if I?m lucky, make people laugh.?
      ? Debra Withers, sonographer

      ?I work with a great group of people. When someone is in need of help, there is someone always willing to help out, no matter how big or small ? someone is always willing to help.?
      ? Lori Murphy, scheduler

      ?I?ve been at LDC since 2012, and my favorite thing about working here is my coworkers. We have an excellent staff that cares about our patients.?
      ? Dr. Robert Pope

      ?Coming to work for LDC has been one of the best decisions I have ever made ? employees are treated with respect and kindness. I recently lost my husband of 29 years of a sudden unexpected death. I had always felt like this group of people were like family, I now know that they are family. The support from LDC was from the love in their hearts for myself and our family. I am blessed and proud to say I work for Lexington Diagnostic Center and Open MRI.?
      ? Joyce Newman, billing specialist

      ?I enjoy working at LDC because they seem to truly appreciate their employees. They acknowledge their hard work, whether it be with a lunch, a gift card or a kind word. That has been a breath of fresh air.?
      ? Amy Perkins, receptionist

      ?About 10 years ago my house caught on fire and my three kids and I lost everything. Dr. Privett and LDC collected money and donated kitchen items, clothes, everything. We were living in a hotel and upon returning after my son?s basketball tournament one evening, I was told by the hotel staff to come to the front desk. LDC had paid for another room so that we all didn?t have to be crowded in the one. They also had bought teddy bears, blankets, food and drinks for me and my kids. When we were able to get back in a house, Dr. Privett aided in providing a refrigerator and stove for my new home. I told him I didn?t know how I could pay him back and he said, ?Don?t worry. I know where you work.? I truly have angels here on earth.
      ? Victoria Guy, front office/scheduling manager

      ?I have so many close relationships at LDC. During the death of my mother, I was nurtured and comforted by this fabulous group of people. I just feel loved here.?
      ? Karen Sykes, LDC Nurse

      ?It truly is a family environment. We are there for each other every day? switching schedules and helping one another out no matter what. You feel the love when you walk in the door.?
      ? Charley Cordray, MRI technologist

      ?The heart of the LDC team is our caring staff. We meet patients during their toughest times, and we treat them like family. Every day, I see staff members? compassion for our patients shine. I see it when a receptionist helps with a patient?s paperwork. I see it when a technologist offers extra words of encouragement. At LDC, patient care is why we?re here and I see that in action at every corner. And, our hearts are fullest when we work together to serve people who walk through our doors.?
      ? Margaret Hancock, administrator

      ?I am so thankful for my colleagues at Lexington Diagnostic Center, for they are truly ?family by choice? to me. Here, our patients are never a number, and are treated with the utmost care and respect. Every day is a gift, and we always find ways to celebrate whether it be birthdays, work anniversaries, holidays and other great milestones. The love we have for each other shines through in the love we show our patients.?
      ? Davonna Saier, director of marketing

      Need medical imaging? We?d love to show you the Lexington Diagnostic Center difference. Give us a call at 859-278-7226. We are conveniently located at 1725 Harrodsburg Road in Lexington.

      Help PREVENT a heart attack?with a Cardiac Calcium?Screening!

      This non-invasive test looks for the buildup of calcium deposits in the arteries that provide blood to the heart muscle.? An elevated cardiac calcium score may indicate the beginnings of heart disease and determine your risk for heart attack and stroke, allowing doctors to intervene before an incident occurs. Painless, safe, and accurate, the test is performed with a CT scanner and no injections are needed. The quick procedure is available at Lexington Diagnostic Center & Open MRI without a physician order.
      . No injection or treadmill required
      . More accurate than a cholesterol test
      . Also predicts the risk of stroke
      . Painless, safe and accurate
      . Done in one minute!
      . Affordable

      85% of sudden heart attacks may be prevented if the conditions that lead to an attack are diagnosed early enough. You can choose good heart health and peace of mind.

      Make it a date! Call Lexington Diagnostic Center at (859) 278-7226 to schedule your screening.

      The FYI On Your MRI

      Open MRI SystemChances are, you or someone you know has needed an MRI scan at some point. We?ve at least all heard of an MRI and might imagine?ourselves getting in to that big white tube! But what exactly are we getting ourselves in to? With the help of Paula Bracken, chief radiologic technologist at Lexington Diagnostic Center & Open MRI, let?s explore what you should know, consider, and expect when you need an MRI.

      What is an MRI?
      As Paula explains, ?MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, is a non-invasive scan that uses a large magnet, pulses of radiofrequency waves, and a computer to create detailed, 2D and 3-D images of organs and structures within your body?. Physicians often use MRI imaging to diagnose conditions that may not be adequately assessed using other imaging methods such as X-ray, ultrasound or CT scan.

      An MRI is often used to:
      ? Examine the joints, brain, spine, nerves, abdominal organs, breasts, reproductive organs and other soft tissues
      ? Assess blood vessels for clots and areas of narrowing
      ? Detect tumors and diagnose many forms of cancer
      ? Evaluate infections
      ? Assess injuries to bones, joints and muscles
      ? Achieve more detailed images than other imaging modalities

      MRIs are often preferred over X-rays and CT scans because they don?t emit potentially harmful radiation. Here?s how it works:
      1. The MRI scanner is a very strong magnet that is always turned on.
      2. Since the body is made up of mostly water, hydrogen protons in the water are utilized to create an image.
      3. An antenna is placed around the area of your body to be scanned.
      4. You are moved into the magnetic field of the machine and the hydrogen protons go from spinning randomly to aligning with the magnetic field.
      5. Radiofrequency pulses are introduced to move the protons into different positions and the antenna ?listens? to the echoes from the protons as they relax.
      6. The information is sent to a computer that creates the image.

      Where to have your MRI
      Many patients ?go with the flow? and have their scan performed at the hospital, not realizing they have options for comfort, convenience, and cost-savings. Paula says she?s proud to provide superior care and quality at LDC. ?We offer an MRI for every need, and we take care of our patients at a fair price that they?ll find is much less expensive than at other facilities,? says Paula.

      An MRI for every need
      If even just the thought of that big white tube makes you cringe with claustrophobia, rest assured there?s an option for you. You can even have a loved one stay close by for support. That option is also great for little patients who want a parent close by. Lexington Diagnostic Center utilizes modern equipment and procedures to produce the best images possible while ensuring the patient?s comfort. There are three different MRI machine options to accommodate various patient needs and preferences.

      In some cases, sedation may be required or requested for the patient. There is no charge for sedation at LDC. You will need to arrange for a driver to take you home.

      What to expect and how to prepare:
      Talk to your doctor?s referring coordinator or scheduler when your scan is ordered and they can set up your appointment with Lexington Diagnostic Center. LDC will receive your doctor?s orders and will call you to confirm your appointment. Be sure to let LDC know ahead of time if you?ve had a scan of the same area previously at another location so that images can be compared. Paula shares that LDC takes pride in making sure the entire process is easy and convenient for the patient. She says, ?We make sure patients have their appointment in a timely manner, without hassle, and are made as comfortable as possible while receiving superior image quality.?

      MRI procedures are performed on an outpatient basis. Eat, drink and take your medications as usual unless instructed otherwise. If you are scheduled for an abdominal MRI, you might be asked to refrain from eating or drinking for two hours prior to your appointment.

      For the scan, you?ll be asked to change into a hospital gown and remove any metal items including:
      ? Jewelry
      ? Hairpins
      ? Eyeglasses
      ? Watches
      ? Wigs
      ? Dentures
      ? Hearing aids

      The MRI machine is a large, tube-shaped machine that the patient enters while lying comfortably on an exam table. The machine can get loud, so earplugs and headphones are available. The radiology technologist will be close by, keeping you informed and making sure you?re comfortable. You can stop the exam any time to ask questions or express concerns.

      Most MRI scans take about 30 minutes to perform for each study. Afterward, the pictures will be reviewed by the radiologist and a report will be sent to your doctor.

      Why choose Lexington Diagnostic Center for your MRI?
      They are committed to providing the most convenient high-quality MRI imaging services for patients and their physicians. LDC offers:

      ? Ease of scheduling with typically same-week appointments
      ? Board Certified Musculoskeletal Fellowship Trained Radiologists to interpret your results
      ? Highly trained technologists to ensure your comfort and safety
      ? CD of images for each patient to have and share with their healthcare provider
      ? An integrated electronic medical records system that provides your referring physician easy access to your images
      ? Evening and Saturday appointment times
      ? Front door parking

      PACS Portal System Offers Quality, Security, Accessibility

      Lexington Diagnostic Center?s PACS Portal System Offers Quality

      They were pictures of first birthdays, graduations, vacations, home renovations, the dog catching a Frisbee ? things that mattered to you in the moment. You likely shared a good number of them on Instagram or Facebook, but at least half of the photos you took were never printed or backed up.

      Five years from now, you will be lucky if you can find that photo of little William destroying his first birthday cake. Even if you can, there is no guarantee the technology will be compatible.

      So imagine the headache it would be if you took tens of thousands of images every year, could never delete them, and lives depended upon them being accessible a moment?s notice.

      Welcome to the world of medical imaging.
      Imaging studies ? X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, etc. ? are the lifeblood of modern medicine. Millions of diagnostic studies are performed in the U.S. each year, generating multiple images, each of which must be reviewed by a radiologist (the physician who specializes in interpreting medical images); permanently stored; and made accessible to the healthcare provider responsible for the patient?s care. All of this has to be available not just today, but for months and years into the future, and not just in Lexington, but anywhere the patient might seek care.

      The system that makes all of this possible is called PACS ? Picture Archiving and Communications System. Since 1996, Lexington Diagnostic Center and Open MRI has been on the forefront of adopting digital imaging and using PACS to ensure imaging studies are accessible, when needed, wherever needed.

      Tim Valenta, IT manager at Lexington Diagnostic Center, is responsible for ensuring all is well with the PACS system. ?Many people are relying on the images we capture at Lexington Diagnostic Center to make important decisions about treatment, and those images have to be available to them 24 hours a day, seven days a week,? Valenta said. ?It?s a responsibility I take very seriously.?

      PACS is about more than just storing images and radiologists? reports, Valenta notes. Digital imaging and PACS have led to improvements in diagnosis and treatment, patient outcomes, speed, convenience and much more.

      ?It?s rather like the difference between a bicycle and a motorcycle,? Valenta said. Both will get you to where you need to go, but the motorcycle will get you there faster, with a lot less effort. Gone are the plates, films and chemicals needed to process the film. Gone are the dusty film storage rooms and cumbersome retrieval methods. Today, referring physicians can retrieve a patient?s study quickly over a secure Internet connection and patients leave LDC with a disc containing all of the images from their study.

      Quality has improved, too. Just like the photos you take with your iPhone, sophisticated software allows the digital images to be enhanced. The radiologist can zoom in for a closer look at a particular segment of the image; change the brightness and contrast; take accurate measurements of structures; and, depending on the imaging modality, add color or create three-dimensional images.

      ?All of this has led to great improvements in the ability to detect changes indicative of disease or injury,? Valenta noted. Lexington Diagnostic Center began archiving its studies digitally in 1996, ensuring continuity from then to now.

      The format used to store these medical images is called DICOM (Digital Imaging Communications in Medicine). The DICOM standard ensures that images captured at Lexington Diagnostic Center can be viewed at nearly any healthcare facility anywhere in the world, including a hospital in Lexington, Myrtle Beach or even London, England.

      This is reassuring for patients who travel a lot or who winter in another part of the country, Valenta noted, because patients know should something happen with their health, prior imaging studies are only a few clicks away via our secure provider portal.

      Accessible ? yet very secure
      Keeping health information accessible to those who have a legitimate need to access it, and safe from those who do not ? is a top priority at Lexington Diagnostic Center, Valenta said.

      A U.S. Navy Veteran who served as an electronics technician aboard a nuclear sub, Valenta knows about security. ?Our systems are top-notch,? he said. ?The internal network is constantly audited access restricted to only those people who need to have access to provide care to that particular patient at that particular moment.?

      Referring physicians and providers can access imaging studies only through LDC?s secure provider portal and only after being granted access. Lexington Diagnostic meets both federal HIPAA and HIM guidelines, Valenta noted.

      It is a big responsibility, but one that the entire staff at Lexington Diagnostic Center takes to heart. ?Every single member of our team is committed not only to providing the highest quality of imaging studies, but to protecting our patients? privacy and health information,? Valenta noted.

      Terms to Know
      PACS ? Picture Archiving and Communication Systems. The platform for storing and communicating digital images within a radiology practice, department or hospital.

      DICOM ? Digital Imaging Communications in Medicine. The ?language? used to store and communicate medical images.

      EHR/EMR ? Electronic Health/Medical Record. The ?electronic file? that contains all of a patient?s health information, including outpatient tests and treatments, office visits, hospitalizations, etc.

      HIPAA ? Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. The federal law, passed in 1996, that both ensures that people are able to acquire health insurance as they change jobs (portability) regardless of existing medical conditions and protects the privacy of their health information. HIPAA established national standards for electronic healthcare transactions.

      PHI ? Personal Health Information or Protected Health Information. The information identified by the federal government to protected from unauthorized disclosure.

      HIM ? Health Information Management ? The process of acquiring, analyzing and protecting digital and traditional medical information vital to providing quality patient care.

      Meet Tim Valenta
      The IT manager at Lexington Diagnostic Center and Open MRI, Tim Valenta is a native of Minneapolis, Minn. He joined the U.S. Navy after graduating high school in American Fork, Utah and served six years aboard a nuclear submarine as an electronics technician.

      Upon returning home, Valenta served 18 months as a missionary in Argentina. Prior to joining Lexington Diagnostic Center in 1995, Valenta worked for Unisys Corp. and with Fonar, one of the first manufacturers of MRI systems in the U.S.

      Today, Valenta is responsible for designing and maintaining Lexington Diagnostic Center?s information technology network, computer systems, communications equipment, and PACS system. He also provides custom programming solutions to improve workflow at LDC. He has more than 30 years experience with electronics and computer systems.

      Lexington Diagnostic Center offers High-Field MRI, Open MRI, CT, Ultrasound, X-ray, Nuclear Medicine, DEXA, and image-guided joint and epidural injections.