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Almost $700,000 has been spent to upgrade at a key unit at Oak Hill.
By CHANDRA BROADWATER, Times Staff Writer
Published December 13, 2007
[Ron Thompson | Times]
SPRING HILL - A few rays of light can make all the difference for patients at Oak Hill Hospital.
Surgical services director Randy Weeks explains this with crisp digital photo printouts of a patient's recent endoscopy.
Standing in a newly outfitted procedures room, he points to the photos. One looks like a regular digital image in color, while the other one, taken in a different light spectrum, looks gray. A new digital processor and digital light processor helped doctors produce both of them, the one in gray showing more texture and detail.
"It's called narrow band imaging," Weeks said, pointing to a corner of the gray picture. "And here you can see where there's scarring and that a lesion has formed."
In the color photo, a red circular area is apparent but is not as clearly visible than in the one with less color. Sometimes color makes it harder to see changes, Weeks said.
For this particular patient, it means doctors will make sure to closely follow his precancerous condition, called Barrett's esophagus. It's where the lining of the esophagus thickens due to acid reflux from the stomach.
These pictures are small examples of big changes in new equipment in the hospital's surgical department. Today, Oak Hill invites community members to check out the nearly $700,000 in improvements.
Weeks and hospital doctors have worked since the summer to purchase new equipment and provide updated services to patients.
"This is a chance for people to come in, ask questions and see what's happening in our world," he said. "Usually, the surgery department is a restricted place."
On display this afternoon will be state-of-the-art equipment in the new endoscopy suite, such as the machines that helped process the endoscopy pictures, along with upgrades to thecystoscopy department and other improvements to the operating rooms.
That includes flat screen monitors and high-definition technology that helps doctors more clearly visualize parts of the body such as the digestive tract.
The new equipment also allows doctors and nurses to look at the computer images from just about anywhere and keep better track of X-rays, pictures, notes and other information that goes into a patient's file.
"Basically, this took away all those pieces of paper and moved us into a digital format," Weeks said. "We can also sort information by disease, patient or surgeon."
Doctors also can do things they haven't been able to do before, such as include other experts' opinions while a procedure is occurring.
For example, if a surgeon comes across something he can't pinpoint during a procedure, another doctor with access to the hospital's system could call up the images and help his or her colleague determine what they're seeing. The instant images can also help surgeons more accurately determine where they are in the body during various procedures by viewing the parts of the body from different angles.
Owned by Nashville-based Hospital Corporation of America, the 204-bed hospital also opened its $8.5-million Heart Institute in 2006 and recently completed $6-million in renovations.
Combined with the surgical department upgrades, Weeks said the hospital expects to see a 24 percent increase in inpatient and outpatient procedures by the end of this year.
"The doctors wanted the new equipment, and we needed to upgrade anyway," Weeks said. "The upgrades cultivate patient safety and better outcomes."
Chandra Broadwater can be reached at email@example.com or 352 848-1432.
IF YOU GO
Take a look
Oak Hill Hospital's Surgery Department will host its open house 3 to 5 p.m. today. The hospital is located at 11375 Cortez Blvd. Light refreshments will be served. Please use Entrance F. For more information, contact the hospital at 596-6632.
[Last modified December 12, 2007, 20:29:08]