Date: 9/29/2009

Community Hospital brings Digital Excellence and Convenient Women’s Care to St. John Outpatient Facility

Women undergoing routine mammograms now have the latest in digital technology available to them at another, convenient Community Healthcare System location. Community Hospital Outpatient Centre in St. John at 9660 Wicker Blvd., with the addition of a Lorad®, Selenia™ digital mammography system from Hologic®, is accepting appointments for digital mammograms featuring same-day results.

Community Hospital Outpatient Centre in St. John is part of Community Healthcare System which includes Community Hospital in Munster, St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago and St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart. All three hospitals’ Women’s Diagnostic Centers offer digital mammography that can be transferred electronically between hospital facilities to facilitate consultation between physicians. Community Healthcare System Women’s Diagnostic Centers were among the first in Northwest Indiana to offer this state-of-the-art technology.

“Digital mammography has advantages for some women,” said Dr. Mary Nicholson, fellowship-trained, dedicated breast radiologist and medical director for breast imaging services for Community Healthcare System. “Many women, including women less than 50 years old, those perimenopausal, and those with dense breasts, benefit from digital mammography. For all of these women, screening with digital mammography provides better visualization of the breast tissue, which means better patient care.”

The radiologist can view and manipulate the images on high-resolution computer monitors that enhance visualization of the structures within the breast tissue. They can adjust brightness and contrast and zoom in on specific areas to help detect small calcifications, masses, and other changes that may be signs of early cancer. These maneuvers may eliminate the need for additional imaging and more exposure to radiation.

“Women will notice little difference when going for a digital mammogram,” said Dr. Nicholson. “The procedure is the same as traditional film mammography but less time consuming. Both use x-ray to generate images of the breast. However, instead of using film to capture and record the image, a digital mammogram uses a special detector to capture and convert x-ray energy into a digital image.”

Digital mammography offers a number of other practical advantages and patient conveniences. Digital images are easily stored and transferred electronically, eliminating the dependency on one set of original films, which can be misfiled or lost in transit. Hard copies can always be produced if necessary. Because digital mammography does not use film, nothing needs to be developed, saving time.

With an investment in new technology and a change in work processes, physicians operating across the three hospitals can often read the mammogram before a woman even leaves the Community Healthcare System diagnostic center. Results for about 80 percent of screening mammograms performed at the three hospitals’ Women’s Diagnostic Centers and outpatient facilities are delivered within the timeframe of that visit, with the remainder communicated to patients on the next business day. This quick turnaround time enables physicians to discuss the findings with women and immediately schedule follow-up testing, if necessary.

Excellence in women’s care has earned Community Healthcare System top honors for its team effort. The Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana awarded Community Healthcare System the Chanute Prize for Team Innovation. Community Hospital in Munster; St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago and St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart were selected for the “Breast Care: Same-Day Results” project. This team approach to delivering outstanding women’s care was recognized for changing the face of healthcare in Northwest Indiana and benefiting the overall quality of life.

This excellence in women’s care can also be found in St. John at the Community Hospital Outpatient Centre. Same-day results are available, and, every Thursday beginning Oct. 15, fellowship-trained, dedicated breast radiologist Dr. Mary Nicholson will be onsite to discuss, in detail, breast imaging results. Dr. Nicholson brings her specialized training and expertise to interpreting mammograms; performing breast ultrasound, and providing breast imaging consultations. Private consultation provides an opportunity to obtain a second opinion, to speak directly with the breast radiologist about your results as well as discuss her follow-up care recommendations. A physician’s order is necessary for these special services.

To make an appointment for a digital mammogram at Community Hospital Outpatient Centre in St. John, call 219-836-4599. Be sure to ask about our October digital mammogram special. Certain dates and restrictions apply. A physician’s order is required for a digital mammogram. For more information about the programs and services available at the Community Hospital Outpatient Centre in St. John, visit us online at

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