Leaders of the Cherokee Nation held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the tribe’s $2 million investment in a new mobile MRI unit Aug. 5 at WW Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah.
“Cherokee Nation continues to invest in healthcare with this cutting-edge, patient-centric imaging technology that represents the next generation of clinical care,” said Cherokee Nation Senior Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. proud of our efforts to ensure the continuity of the history of the Cherokee people by improving the health and quality of life of our citizens. Our record investment in our health care system, the best in Indian Country, is positively changing the lives of Cherokee families for generations to come.”
The purchase of a new mobile MRI unit for Cherokee Nation WW Hastings Hospital is part of an overall investment in diagnostic imaging totaling more than $6 million in the Tribe’s health services system. Prior to receiving the mobile MRI unit, Hastings patients received offsite MRI services.
“Providing hospital and emergency MRIs has been a challenge for patients and staff. This unit will reduce the time from order placement to exam completion, deliver results more efficiently, and increase the capacity for daily MRI exams of inpatients and emerging patients. the on-site unit at the hospital eliminates the need for Hastings EMS to transport patients to other sites for MRI studies. This will allow for increased access for further patient transfers, thereby increasing patient care and satisfaction,” said Dr. Cherokee Nation Health Services Executive Director. R.Stephen Jones.
The new MRI system is also quieter, operates faster and is more comfortable for the patient compared to traditional MRI technology often used in on-site healthcare facilities. The artificial intelligence software engine, which the system leverages, enables such advancements, according to Jones.
“Patients will have the choice of scanning head-first or feet-first for each scan to alleviate any claustrophobia issues. The quieter operation and wide bore of this system will help alleviate the apprehension often felt by many of our patients,” Jones said.
The mobile MRI unit will also enhance other Cherokee Nation Health Services initiatives, including the hospital’s Acute Stroke Ready certification and stroke care provided through a partnership with the Regional Brain. Institute.
“This unit will enable best practices that will help meet our Acute Stroke Ready certification requirements and allow us to proceed with additional stroke center certifications, making us the only hospital in the region with a certified stroke program. nationwide. Having an over-the-top MRI also allows for faster follow-up exams for patients cared for by our RBI team of specialists,” said Executive Medical Director of Cherokee Nation Health Services, Dr. Roger Montgomery.
In 2021, Hoskin and Deputy Chief Bryan Warner proposed and received support from the Council of the Cherokee Nation to invest $400 million to build a new hospital in Tahlequah to replace the nearly aging WW Hastings Hospital. 40 years old, by the latest hospital technology. . When the new hospital is built and equipped with MRI technology, the new mobile MRI unit can be repurposed and used to provide services to even more patients through other Cherokee Nation Health Services facilities.