AHN Facilities Recognized as Diagnostic Imaging Centers of Excellence by American College of Radiology

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Five of Allegheny Health Network’s (AHN) Imaging Centers have been recognized by the American College of Radiology (ACR) as Diagnostic Imaging Centers of Excellence (DICOE): West Penn Hospital, Hempfield Outpatient Imaging, Forbes Hospital Outpatient Imaging, Fox Chapel Outpatient Imaging and Wexford Health & Wellness Imaging.

“AI is constantly evolving, and we are always looking at new ways to deliver the best patient care by integrating these new technologies, either through software or new equipment capabilities,” said Dr. Casagranda.

Five of Allegheny Health Network’s (AHN) Imaging Centers have been recognized by the American College of Radiology (ACR) as Diagnostic Imaging Centers of Excellence (DICOE): West Penn Hospital, Hempfield Outpatient Imaging, Forbes Hospital Outpatient Imaging, Fox Chapel Outpatient Imaging and Wexford Health & Wellness Imaging. Among adult imaging centers, AHN’s are the only ones to achieve the designation across the four-state region comprised of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and Delaware.

The DICOE designation indicates that the facility delivers the highest levels of imaging quality, safety and care by surpassing accreditation standards. AHN participates in the ACR Dose Index Registry, which monitors the radiation dose of CT scans performed within the system, allowing the facilities to understand how much radiation is being used compared to national averages.

“Standing up our imaging facilities as DICOE places us on the forefront of the current best practices provided by the leading experts in the field,” said Bethany Casagranda, DO, Imaging Institute Chair. Dr. Casagranda sits on the American College of Radiology Practice Parameters/Technical Standard committee and collaborates with radiologists from across the country to determine these standards.

Over the past several years, AHN and Highmark Health have committed approximately $400 million to enhance the technological capabilities of the AHN Imaging Institute and expand its patient care capacity across the region.

Recognizing that new technology alone does not change or improve the patient experience, Dr. Casagranda led a transformation of the care delivery model across the Imaging Institute, which oversees diagnostic care at more than 38 AHN locations. “If you ask a patient about their imaging experience, chances are the shiny new equipment won’t stand out in their mind, but they will clearly recall how well they were treated by the technologist or radiologist who cared for them, how swiftly they received their results and how accurate those results were in helping to direct the next course of care,” she said.

One particularly exciting development in the field of imaging is the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) as a solution to the growing demand for the services.

“It’s is an incredibly exciting time for the field of diagnostic imaging, we are not without challenges,” said Dr. Casagranda. “Technology across every imaging modality is advancing at warp speed, and the advent of artificial intelligence (AI) promises to revolutionize nearly every aspect of our profession, and ultimately, further improve the delivery of patient care.”

Software solutions employing leading-edge AI technologies are being explored and deployed across the Institute’s numerous subspecialties. Radiologists can leverage AI to improve accuracy and efficiency in their work, as well as gain new insights into the diseases they diagnose, saving time—and potentially, lives.

“AI is constantly evolving, and we are always looking at new ways to deliver the best patient care by integrating these new technologies, either through software or new equipment capabilities,” said Dr. Casagranda.

For the past four years, AHN neurologists and neuroradiologists have been using an AI platform that delivers real-time stroke imaging analyses, improving the quality of acute stroke care at comprehensive and primary stroke centers, and providing subspecialized care at all sites, including community hospitals across the network. Along with neuroradiologists, AHN employs fellowship trained radiologists in the following subspecialties:
o    Musculoskeletal (orthopaedic)
o    Interventional vascular radiology
o    Abdominal imaging
o    Breast
o    Cardiothoracic
o    Emergency radiology
o    Nuclear medicine

In addition to its AI pursuits, AHN has been an early collaborator with HeartFlow, a non-invasive test coupled to coronary CT imaging that gives cardiologists and radiologists personalized analysis of a patient’s coronary arteries. This advanced technology has led to a decrease in extra testing, such as coronary artery catheterizations, which results in fewer invasive procedures and less cost to the patient.

The DICOE designation recognizes excellence across the entire diagnostic imaging program, including professional and ancillary staff, the technology and the institute’s policies and procedures, all of which play an integral role in providing excellent patient care.

“Behind every physician facing a challenging diagnosis for a patient, there is a team of highly trained medical imaging specialists providing as much clarity as possible to assist in this critical decision-making process. At AHN, we are fortunate to have some of the most experienced and talented imaging specialists in the country at our side every day, and this important designation by the American College of Radiology is a well-earned distinction for the program,” said Donald Whiting, MD, Chief Medical Officer for AHN.

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