(HELENA) Townsend’s Broadwater Health Center is celebrating the addition of a new, state-of-the-art CT scanner.
Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney, Broadwater County commissioners and other leaders were on hand Wednesday for a ribbon-cutting for the hospital’s new Siemens go.Up scanner.
“This is an exciting day for us,” said Kyle Hopstad, the hospital’s administrator.
The new machine includes updated software that can provide clearer 3D images of bones, organs or blood vessels in a much shorter time. It can highlight clogged arteries and show a view of a patient’s individual rib bones to see if any are fractured.
Leaders said previously, after a patient was scanned, it could take a technologist 12 to 20 minutes to compile the data into usable images. This machine can finish scanning a patient and automatically produce the images a radiologist needs to diagnose a problem, cutting the time down dramatically.
“When you talk minutes in health care, ‘minutes’ is life,” said Andrew Shidaker, a clinical education specialist with Siemens.
Hopstad said the new technology will be invaluable for the hospital.
“In a small rural setting, when you have the catastrophe come in, it’s so important to have that information at your fingertips as a practitioner, so you can begin to make a plan,” he said.
Broadwater Health Center received a $400,000 grant from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust to purchase the new scanner. The trust has spent millions of dollars to improve health care in rural areas of Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota and Iowa.
Cooney said, several years ago, he worked with a charitable foundation that provided a grant to help BHC install its first CT scan room. He said this new machine will be a big step forward for the hospital’s capabilities.
“I wanted to be here and congratulate the community for working together to make this happen,” he said.
He said health care improvements like this can also have an important economic benefit for Montana’s smaller communities, by making them more attractive places to live.
“I just think it’s a very important piece of the puzzle that’s going to keep these communities going strong and being healthy,” he said.
Hopstad said Broadwater Health Center currently conducts about 30 to 50 CT scans per month. He expects that number will rise substantially now that they have the new scanner.