ENID, Okla. — St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center is expanding, growing and upgrading its services in 2020 and beyond.

St. Mary’s CEO Krista Roberts said reinvesting in the hospital’s capabilities is part of keeping up with an ever-changing medical field.

“We typically will spend, on average, three to four million dollars a year reinvesting in equipment, additions and new service lines,” Roberts said.

Investing in breast health

One of the largest investments throughout the last year has been the purchase and launch of ABUS (Automated Breast Ultrasound System).

ABUS expands on existing ultrasound technology to improve breast cancer screening results for women with dense breast tissue. The system, which creates a full ultrasound image of the breast, is not meant to replace mammograms or conventional ultrasound for pinpointed examination of a suspected mass, but it serves as an extra level of screening for women with dense breast tissue.

One in eight American women will develop breast cancer during her lifetime, according to American Cancer Society (ACS). Almost 42,000 American women are expected to die of breast cancer this year, according to ACS, making it the second-leading cause of cancer deaths among women.

For women who have dense breast tissue, those risks of developing breast cancer can be as much as six times greater than the general women’s population, according to National Institutes of Health.

Traditional mammography is more than a third less effective for women with dense breast tissue, and Roberts said addition of ABUS capability can result in finding breast cancer in those women with more than 35% greater success rates than with mammography alone.

“We’ve really tried to make a significant investment in women’s health care,” Roberts said, “and ABUS is part of that investment.”

Upright breast biopsy

In addition to the ABUS machine, St. Mary’s just implemented in February a new method of taking breast biopsies, meant to make the process more comfortable and convenient for women.

Previously, having a breast biopsy conducted required the woman to lie in a face-down position. The new Affirm Upright Breast Biopsy machine removes that necessity, and also provides the ability to articulate around the breast for different angles during the biopsy process.

Roberts said the new equipment will be “more comfortable for the patient and provide a better patient experience.”

Low-dose lung cancer screening

“Smoking is very prevalent in the patient population we see,” Roberts said, “so any opportunity to diagnose lung cancer early is going to improve outcomes.”

Toward that end, St. Mary’s recently launched low-dose computed tomography (CT) scans to screen people who are at high risk for lung cancer.

According to information provided by St. Mary’s, non-small cell lung cancer can sometimes be cured if it’s diagnosed early. But, once symptoms present, the disease usually is already in an advanced stage.

The CT scans are designed to screen for lung cancer people who are smokers or who quit smoking in the last 15 years, are healthy with no personal history of lung cancer, are between the ages of 55 and 70 and are smokers or have smoked the equivalent of “30 pack years” — one pack a day for 30 years, two packs a day for 15 years or any such combination that equals 30.

There is no preparation required for the low-dose CT screening. For information, go to https://stmarysregional.com/ldct.

More square footage

As it expands services, St. Mary’s also is expanding its square footage, growing the size of the St. Mary’s Center for Rehabilitation at 2123 W. Willow.

The rehab center is growing by about 25%, adding to its previous 6,100 square-foot space.

Adding to its growing list of occupational and physical rehabilitation services at the center, St. Mary’s is adding a pelvic floor, bowel and bladder control program.

Advances in incontinence care

St. Mary’s urologists recently added the ability to implant a small device, through a minimally invasive outpatient procedure, that stimulates the bladder to reduce overactivity.

Dr. Jarrett Kruska, a urologist at St. Mary’s, said in a press release the treatment can provide at least 50% improvement of incontinence issues, when other treatments such as medication and behavior modification have failed. In most cases, according to a six-month study cited in the St. Mary’s press release, patients saw a 75% or greater reduction in incontinence.

Kruska said recovery from the implant procedure normally requires no more than a day, and results can be expected immediately after the procedure. Patients can be tested before the procedure to see if the implant would be effective for them.

In addition, St. Mary’s also has introduced ProACT, a procedure that uses implants to address incontinence for men who have undergone prostate surgery.

New lab equipment

Roberts said St. Mary’s is making “a significant investment” in the hospital’s laboratory equipment in 2020, with the purchase of advanced equipment that will reduce testing time for bacterial and viral respiratory illnesses to as little as two hours, compared to three to five days previously.

“The new equipment will allow us to ensure we have the patient on the correct antibiotic and course of care,” she said, “and to do it in as little time as possible.”

New physicians

In addition to new equipment, procedures and space, St. Mary’s also recently added, or soon will add, several new physicians.

In January, Dr. Tim Jones, M.D., joined St. Mary’s as an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist, and also is board certified in facial plastic surgery.

In March, Dr. Renah Gibson, D.O., will join in family medicine, and, in April, Dr. Rebecca Lewis, D.O., will join the hospital in family practice and obstetrics.

Between the new staff, equipment and expansion, Roberts said St. Mary’s is well-positioned to continue improving care to its patients.

“We’re always looking for opportunities to provide a better customer experience,” Roberts said. “Anything we can do to improve the quality of care delivered in Enid — to keep health care local — that is our goal.”


Article By: James Neal – Enid News & Eagle

Feb. 29, 2020