Vi­tal­ity Im­prov­ing breast care and nav­i­gat­ing the ER

How first-hand ex­pe­ri­ence is im­prov­ing breast care

ZOOMER Magazine - - CONTENTS -

OC­TO­BER IS breast can­cer aware­ness month, and aware­ness is the op­er­a­tive word. If can­cer is de­tected be­fore spread­ing be­yond the breast, the five-year sur­vival rate in­creases from 85 to 99 per cent. En­cour­ag­ing, but let’s be hon­est: get­ting a mam­mo­gram can sink screen­ing to the bot­tom of a woman’s want-to-do list.

“Typ­i­cally, 25 to 46 per cent have their first mam­mo­gram, and then they don’t come back be­cause the ex­pe­ri­ence wasn’t ter­rific,” says Heather Chalmers, vice-pres­i­dent and GM of GE Health­care Canada.

En­ter the Senographe Pristina (right), GE’s lat­est breast imag­ing ma­chine. Launched in Europe last year, Canada will see its first in­stalled in On­tario and Que­bec this fall. The re­design was led by a team of women, which seems a no­brainer, but Chalmers be­lieves the real par­a­digm shift came from in­clud­ing pa­tients for the first time in the process.

Ad­mit­tedly pret­tier than typ­i­cal X-ray equip­ment, the Pristina fea- tures soft blush ac­cents (for a calm­ing ef­fect), curves (ev­ery cor­ner rounded for com­fort) and contact points that are warm to the touch. And what about that dreaded breast pan­cak­ing? Now it’s in the hands – lit­er­ally – of the pa­tient by means of a self-com­pres­sion con­troller – the out­come of which was sur­pris­ing.

“You have a sense of con­trol and you’re do­ing it at your own speed. And we’ve been able to show that women ac­tu­ally com­pressed fur­ther than the tech­nol­o­gist would be able to,” Chalmers ex­plained.

Fo­cus­ing on ways to make the pa­tient ex­pe­ri­ence bet­ter seems to have paid off. Euro­pean user sur­veys show that 83 per cent of pa­tients rated their ex­pe­ri­ence bet­ter, 70 per cent noted that it was more com­fort­able and 66 per cent per­ceived the exam to be shorter – even though it isn’t, Chalmers notes. What’s more, she says, im­age qual­ity gen­er­ally im­proves the more re­laxed a pa­tient is, which, in turn, can help re­duce exam re­dos. —Tara Losin­ski

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