Digital tests speed up breast screenings

Last updated 12:00 19/12/2013

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A digital upgrade to Palmerston North's BreastScreen Coast to Coast services has been completed and the result should be less running round for patients and staff.

The technology will enhance the way screenings are processed, cutting back on the need for repeat screenings.

MidCentral District Health Board began upgrading all analogue mammography machines in 2012 in response to the National Screening Unit's requirement that all mammograms be performed digitally.

The diagnostic mammography service, previously located at the Palmerston North Hospital, was relocated to BreastScreen Coast to Coast at 27 Amesbury St.

Along with the digital upgrade, the regional service received a new mobile unit also equipped with a digital mammography machine.

It will visit 17 smaller sites across the MidCentral, Taranaki, Whanganui, Hawke's Bay and Tairawhiti District Health Board regions.

Project manager Denise Holcroft said moving to a digital platform further enhanced the well-established breast screening service already provided to women within the BreastScreen Coast to Coast region.

"Images on the digital machines are produced and viewed within a few seconds, either on-site at Amesbury St, or on the new mobile unit which reduces the need of a client to come back for repeat imaging due to technical reasons," she said. "Previously the films taken on the mobile unit had to be transported back to Palmerston North each day to be processed.

"The digital images are available electronically, enabling clinicians to view images at multiple locations, including outpatient clinics and operating theatres."

The new mobile unit was necessary and timely because the original unit had reached the end of its working life.

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- Manawatu Standard

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