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BHS to Install Digital Mammography
June 4, 2008



PITTSFIELD, MA – Berkshire Health Systems is taking the next step forward in enhancing its state-of-the-art breast imaging technology for patients undergoing mammography, the best available early detection and screening tool for breast cancer. BHS, which currently has the most advanced film-based mammography system, will this fall install digital mammography at both the Women’s Imaging Center at Berkshire Medical Center and at Fairview Hospital, with a total investment of over $1.5 million. BHS has selected General Electric to provide the new digital mammography system.
Digital mammography provides enhanced breast images with improved clarity and contrast, in comparison to traditional analog mammography, and can significantly reduce the exam time to help minimize patient anxiety and discomfort while also lowering the number of recall mammography exams. The new digital mammography system works seamlessly with the comprehensive Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system utilized by Berkshire Health Systems at BMC and Fairview, which features the use of a Picture Archival Communications System, or PACS, also from GE. PACS stores advanced imaging exams, such as MRI, CT scans and others, in digital, filmless format. With the addition of digital mammography, Radiology services at BMC and Fairview will be completely film free.
“From a physician standpoint, digital mammography provides me with many additional viewing options and the ability to enhance certain areas of the breast to get a more precise look,” said Dr. Lisa Loring, Medical Director of the Women’s Imaging Center at BMC. “With digital technology, I can zoom in and out, and the contrast can be changed. Digital images give the physician better visibility of the breast, especially near the skin line, the chest wall and in women with dense tissue.”
A four-year national study sponsored by the National Cancer Institute comparing digital versus film mammography stated that women with dense breasts, those who are pre or peri-menopausal, and women who are younger than the age of 50 may benefit from having a digital rather than film mammogram.
BHS conducted a comprehensive review of the clinical and cost-efficiency benefits that come from conversion to digital mammography prior to choosing GE as the vendor for the new technology. GE was selected, in part, based on its satisfaction-based performance among users of digital mammography, which evaluated system performance, reliability, installation and implementation, applications training, service response and repair quality.

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