A New Picture of Ambulatory Imaging
By Jonathan Broder, MD
With the opening of the Imaging Center at Alexander Park, Rochester General Health System is breaking new ground. Delivering the best possible care to our patients has always been our top priority, and providing ambulatory care is hardly new for our health system. But the plans behind this Imaging Center reflect the future of outpatient services in this era of healthcare reform, and our eagerness to meet those challenges head-on.
The origins of downtown Rochester’s first diagnostic imaging center go back several years. While Rochester General Hospital’s Radiology services support the needs of inpatient, OR, and ED patients, providing an optimal outpatient experience from within the hospital has presented a unique challenge. Access to RGH imaging, built in the center of the hospital to enable convenience for urgent inpatient cases, can be less convenient for outpatients. While we expect to always offer outpatient imaging services at RGH, the growing demand for high quality, cost-effective ambulatory imaging made the decision to expand our services a logical one.
The location for our new site was equally logical: Alexander Park was ideal for a number of reasons, starting with the opportunity to support dozens of Rochester General Medical Group physicians with busy and diverse practices right across the parking lot. We explored the viability of which imaging modalities to offer in the 7,000-square foot site, and settled on a broad mix that we determined would meet the needs of our partner physicians, and their patients. At the same time, we knew that demand for MRI or other services could rise in the future, and so added “soft space” into the building’s design to accommodate additional modalities down the road.
There are other terrific advantages to the Alexander Park location. The site is very convenient for downtown professionals who have had a hard time getting to these services during their busy workdays. And perhaps most importantly, the Alexander Park catchment area includes many lower-income city residents who have had difficulty accessing comprehensive care and services like mammography and first trimester ultrasound. With this new facility – accessible by bus, and with plenty of free parking – a lot of historically underserved patients will have easy access to this important aspect of their care.
Of course, we also knew it wasn’t enough to just provide these services; to be truly competitive as an ambulatory provider, customer-focused attention was going to be more important than ever. Because outpatient service delivery must accommodate patients’ busy schedules, we made sure our technologists were cross-trained on all modalities at Alexander Park, to be sure that lunch hours for our teams didn’t interfere with our ability to provide uninterrupted all-day service for our patients. We also added longer weekday hours and a Saturday half-day schedule, and instituted a policy of accepting early or late flexible appointments when needed.