SOFHA Updates

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

New specialized training helps mammography techs improve imaging techniques

The mammography technologists at the State of Franklin Healthcare Associates Comprehensive Breast Center (SOFHA CBC) in Kingsport and Johnson City recently learned how to take screening mammograms to the next level by improving the consistency and quality of annual mammograms. SOFHA continues to invest in resources to improve patient outcomes on many levels, especially in early breast cancer detection. 

Performing mammograms by using low-dose X-rays to image the breast tissue is a daily role of mammography technologists. The goal is early detection of breast cancers.

It only took a day or so of training with Louise Miller, education director and co-founder of Mammography Educators, for the technologists to see the positive difference in their work as a team. 

“We have definitely seen imaging improvements,” Kim Singleton, Lead Mammography Technologist, said. “Standardizing our techniques has proven to provide the radiologist with consistent images.”

A mammography technologist assists with the positioning of a patient, as featured in our SOFHA CBC commercial.

The mammography technologists at SOFHA CBC spent a week in early November learning from Miller’s standardized placement techniques designed to produce consistent, quality images across the department. 

Miller has worked in the mammography field for more than 30 years and helped to found Mammography Educators, which works to implement high-quality and consistent breast imaging standards. She has trained more than 50,000 technologists worldwide and consulted at numerous hospitals and institutions across the US, including Mayo Clinic, Harvard Medical School, UCLA and Stanford University. 

“Most technologists in this country are not taught a standardized positioning method,” Miller said. “My goal is to get everybody doing it this way.”

She teaches a method of positioning the breast in the imaging equipment developed through personal experience and consulting experts in the field that, if used, provides consistent results and is often able to image more tissue.

The benefit here is that, with consistent results, radiologists know they will see similar images each time they view a patient’s results, no matter who did the work or when.

Dr. Raymond Kohne, radiologist at SOFHA CBC, said he has already seen a measurable difference in mammography results and image quality thanks to the standardized methods the techs have learned.

“We were already doing a great mammography before,” he said. “We just wanted to be the best. We saw this opportunity and had support from the administration.”

Brent Moseley, SOFHA’s Diagnostic Imaging Services Administrator, said the organization conducts more than 15,000 screenings annually between the two facilities and that standardized methods help improve service and care to those patients.

Miller noted that staff must commit to the training and that the team at SOFHA’s Comprehensive Breast Center did so enthusiastically.

Posted in SOFHA Updates