LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 19, 2011) – The Comprehensive Breast Care Center at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center has undergone a transformation over the past year and a half.
The CBCC performs a full range of services, including routine mammograms, second opinions and advanced treatment options for breast cancer. But just 18 months ago, getting a timely appointment for many of these services was difficult due to the backlog of patients.
Under the leadership of Dr. Heather Wright, the CBCC has made sweeping changes that have significantly improved workflow and their ability to see more patients sooner.
"As a major referral center for much of the state, we needed to make sure we were taking care of as many patients as possible," said Wright, director of the Comprehensive Breast Care Center. "We knew we needed to make major changes to get patients the care they needed quickly."
The CBCC has restructured both its personnel organization and its clinic days, allowing more patients to come through its doors, and more quickly. Two new full-time breast cancer patient navigators are available to assist patients with non-clinical issues related to treatment, such as lack of transportation to appointments or getting access to prosthetics or wigs.
"The new organization of our Center has really improved our ability to see patients and serve them more efficiently," said Crystal Kendrick, clinic manager for the Comprehensive Breast Care Center. "We've eliminated wait times for patients who need diagnostic mammograms and can schedule most patients within the same week."
In addition, the CBCC has improved its diagnostic technology. The first of three Hologic Selenia Dimensions 2D digital mammography units is already in place, providing exceptional image quality. Three new state-of-the-art ultrasound machines using elastography software were added to supplement mammography by detecting small breast cancers that may not be visible with traditional methods.
The CBCC also brought in Dr. Margaret Szabunio, a respected radiologist who comes to UK from the Moffit Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla. Dr. Szabunio specializes in early detection of breast cancer using new technologies including elastography and tomosynthesis. She is the division chief of Women's Radiology at UK HealthCare and serves as the associate medical director of the Comprehensive Breast Care Center.
Many of the improvements, along with the CBCC's already high standards of care, helped them earn a three-year/full accreditation designation by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC), a program administered by the American College of Surgeons. Accreditation by the NAPBC is only given to those centers that undergo a rigorous evaluation process and review of their performance and demonstrate the highest level of quality breast care.
"This accreditation is due to the efforts of the entire team here at the breast center, from administrative staff to the nurses to the clinicians," said Wright. "It's further proof of how committed we are to providing the absolute best care to breast cancer patients across the region."
In the official evaluation, the NAPBC surveyor described the Comprehensive Breast Care Center as a "model breast program" that provided patients excellent services in areas including rehabilitation, genetics, clinical trials and education.
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