NHCH Announces New Breast Health Program
Posted on Monday, June 18, 2012

She means everything to you - your tutu, wife, mother, auntie, sister, cousin, daughter, friend. NHCH proudly announces our new Breast Health Program to help her stay healthy and strong.

The hospital’s new Breast Health Program offers our community access to the latest cutting-edge technology, a more comfortable experience, faster image analysis and on-going support, in coordination with Hawaii’s new mammography self-referral law, which takes effect on July 1st, 2012. 

The hospital’s Imaging Department recently upgraded from analog technology to a state-of-the-art digital mammography machine called MAMMOMAT Inspiration by Siemens. “This new machine is absolutely the best mammography equipment available, and we are all really excited to offer this to our patients,” says Dr. George Ainge, Medical Director of Imaging at NHCH.  NHCH’s new digital mammography machine provides technologists the ability to review the images in real time to determine image quality, providing more information for diagnosis. “Our new digital mammography machine also features intelligent breast compression technology, which offers patients a more comfortable exam experience with a shorter exam time and one-third less exposure to x-rays,” says Dr. Ainge. 

According to the American Cancer Society, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, which is the most common form of cancer in women.  Early detection is key in treating breast cancer, and annual mammography can help detect breast tumors at their earliest, most treatable stages.

A new Hawai‘i state law will take effect July 1st, 2012, allowing women over the age of 40, for the first time ever, the right and ability to choose when, where and with whom they’d like to schedule their annual breast-screening exam, without a referral from their primary care physician. “The timing of Hawaii’s new self-referral state law and our new Breast Health Program could not be more perfect,” said Ken Wood, President and CEO of NHCH. 

“We are proud to give women in our community the opportunity to engage in their own healthcare and not be hindered by an old referral process.” Prior to July 1, women in Hawaii had to get a referral from a physician or be given permission from their healthcare provider to schedule and receive an annual exam.

NHCH’s new Breast Health Program offers patients more than just upgraded state-of-the-art technology.  “We revamped our breast health program by incorporating multiple upgrades and process improvements by creating a more patient-centered model of care which supports patients throughout the entire mammography process from start to finish,” says Lorrie Mortensen, NHCH’s Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer.  Mammography results are now produced much more quickly, helping to decrease patient anxiety. “Mammography results that used to take days or weeks are now available in a fraction of that time,” says Mortensen.

In addition, should an abnormality be discovered during a patient’s screening mammography, hospital radiologists are now able to expedite any additional testing and, if necessary, perform a minimally-invasive biopsy to establish a diagnosis. Previously, a patient needing additional testing was referred to Hilo or off island.  “Our new Breast Health Program is designed to minimize anxiety by providing rapid and accurate diagnosis close to home,” says Dr. Ainge.

When additional follow-up is required, NHCH’s new Breast Health Program will support patients by arranging referrals to Hawai‘i Island healthcare providers. “In addition, we now have the technology, processes and relationships in place which allow us to consult rapidly with women’s health specialists on Oahu, making quick and effective diagnosis and treatment a reality, despite our rural location,” says Mortensen. 

Talk to the women in your life about getting a regular mammogram. It’s one of the quickest, most effective ways to detect and prevent breast cancer. And it just got a whole lot easier. All it takes is one phone call.  One appointment. She can call herself. No primary care referral necessary.

Contact our Breast Health Program for a mammogram appointment with the latest technology and lots of aloha. It’s for the women in your life. It’s for your `ohana.  After all, she means everything to you. 

Call 808.881.4882 to make an appointment today.