IN THE NEWS
Memorial Radiology Residency Fund Set up in Honor of Dr. Jeffrey Ager

Dr. Jeffrey Ager passed away suddenly at Sacred Heart Medical Center on December 24, 2013 after a courageous eight month battle with cancer. He was 54. He was born in Everett, Washington to Jeanne and the late Richard Ager. Raised in Spokane, he attended parochial schools and Gonzaga Prep High School.

At Prep he was a bit of a renaissance man. He was as comfortable on the baseball field and basketball court as in the classroom, serving with Knights of the Leash, or at the keys of a piano accompanying the annual musical. Legend has it, that Jeff had the meanest curveball in town. On the basketball court he showed great athleticism, though he may be remembered most for his short shorts and pigeon-toed gait.

At the age of 15, a fateful blind date introduced Leanne Zimmer into his life. She was his high school sweetheart, and eventual wife, who shared nearly 29 years of beautiful married life together.

Jeff went on to receive his undergraduate degree from Stanford University and attended medical school at St. Louis University. He completed a radiology residency at Virginia Mason Medical Center followed by a Fellowship at the University of Washington, specializing in Body Imaging. Jeff's radiology career spanned 20 years in Spokane, where he embodied a genuine passion for excellence and professionalism while developing cherished friendships with colleagues and staff.

He endeared himself to all he encountered with his quick wit, disarming smile, and warm heart. Despite his many successes, Jeff's greatest pleasures were found in the simple things. Many summer days were spent puttering around his beloved lake cabin in attempt to create a timeless haven for family and friends.

As a "master projecter" with an unmatched attention to detail, he amassed an impressive array of obscure gadgets in constant pursuit of a better way. Quiet mornings at the lake were his refuge, and he loved nothing more than sharing it with others. A grilled steak with his special "smokey flavor," laughter shared on the screened porch, and an ice cream treat from his special stash made for a perfect night.

Jeff's most cherished role, and likely his greatest legacy, was that of mentor and father to his boys. He was a man of few words, but his actions spoke volumes. He modeled hard work, integrity, and consistency as he loved them into men. They will forever be grateful for his steady and true guidance in their lives.

It is hard for us to imagine a more quiet, humble, unassuming man that has garnered more respect, admiration, and love. He held himself to the highest standards, yet offered grace freely to others. He lived with open hands in generosity, and selflessly put the needs of others before his own. If the measure of a man is in the impact he had on the hearts of others, he was rich indeed.

If you would like to contribute to the "Dr. Jeffrey Ager Memorial Radiology Residency Fund", please reference account #767334 through Numerica Credit Union. This fund was established to honor Jeff's years of contribution to radiology by assisting residents training in Spokane.

Inland Imaging’s New CT Scanners Produce High Quality Diagnostic Imaging with Lower Radiation Exposure

Spokane, WA April 21, 2014 – With the installation of two new, technologically advanced Toshiba Prime CT scanners, Inland Imaging is now able to deliver high-resolution medical images while reducing patients’ exposure to radiation — in some cases by as much as two-thirds. Both of the scanners integrate industry-leading software that automatically reduces the radiation dose to a patient’s specific needs and minimizes scanner noise, all while increasing image quality.

Lowering each patient’s exposure to radiation has been a long-term goal for the radiologists and technologists at Inland Imaging who have worked with their existing systems to manually lower exposures according to the ALARA (as low as reasonably achievable) principle, while still generating diagnostically useful imaging. “In the past, to lower the radiation dose during a CT scan, you had to sacrifice some of the image quality,” said Angela Steinbach, manager of CT services at Inland Imaging. “But with this advanced technology, there’s no trade-off. You can do a low-dose scan and still get a high-quality image.”

Last September, Inland Imaging and its partners were awarded the 2013 Providence Health Care Quality Innovators Award for their efforts to reduce radiation doses. As part of this ongoing dose-reduction initiative, Steinbach said Inland Imaging expects to eventually replace all of its CT scanners with the more advanced equipment and technology.

According to Yasuo Nobuta, General Manager, CT Systems Division, Toshiba Medical Systems, “The balance of image quality and radiation dose is the fundamental challenge for physicians in performing routine clinical examinations while adhering to the ALARA principle. With the integration of AIDR (adaptive iterative dose reduction) 3D into exposure controls, the radiation exposure is automatically reduced before the scan, ensuring the lowest dose is given for the diagnostic task at hand, no matter what the size or shape of the patient.”

“Since Inland Imaging began using the new technology, there has already been a significant reduction in radiation dose,” Steinbach said. “As a standard, we’ve seen a 30-50% reduction; and in some cases, as
much as 70% from previous scans done several years ago.”

The new Wide Bore CT scanners also improve patient comfort. Wider openings accommodate both larger-sized and claustrophobic patients. One of the CT tables can serve patients up to 450 pounds, and the other can scan patients who weigh up to 660 pounds. The tables are positioned lower to the floor, making it easier for patients to get on and off.

“This is the first 660-lb CT table in the Spokane area,” Steinbach said. “There’s an entire sub-set of patients who have had no alternative. With the larger tables and wide-bore design, we can provide CT services to patients of all shapes and sizes.”

Additionally, the new CT scanners feature rapid scanning and image reconstruction. Scans often require as little as 10 seconds. Radiologists can interpret the images faster, and patients and their physicians receive their imaging results more quickly.

The two new scanners are in operation at Inland Imaging’s Holy Family Center. A third low-dose CT scanner will also be installed at Inland Imaging’s new Spokane Valley location at the Providence Medical Park, which opens the end of April.

When the NCAA Needs X-rays

This year, Inland Imaging, collaborating with Washington State University, provided onsite X-rays to participants of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Championships at the Veteran's Memorial Arena in Spokane, Washington, March 20 and 22. Inland Imaging also provided on-site staff to register patients and conduct the X-rays. This service was available for four days — including two practice days and two game days.

For three years previously, Inland Imaging has provided onsite X-rays to the NCAA Women's basketball tournament at the McCarthey Athletic center in collaboration with Gonzaga University.

“We feel this is a great opportunity to support the athletic community with a quick and accurate diagnosis of injury, eliminating the need to travel to one of our centers or local hospitals,” said Mark Ingalls, X-ray Manager at Inland Imaging.

The state-of-the art portable digital X-ray unit was purchased by the Holy Family Foundation for use throughout Holy Family Hospital and was the first of its kind in the region. The technology is utilized daily in the hospital during surgery and in emergency settings.

Inland Imaging aids in prevention of heart attacks

[Spokane, WA] February 2, 2014— More Americans die of heart disease than all types of cancer combined. 58 million Americans have one or more forms of cardiovascular disease, making coronary artery disease the number one killer of men and women in the United States. Yet, preventative exams that can assess and identify risk for cardiovascular disease are often overlooked.

In honor of American Heart Month, Inland Imaging is offering a special promotion for a screening exam that aids in the early detection of heart disease: a CT coronary calcium scoring exam for $100—a savings of nearly $200—during the entire month of February at the Holy Family Imaging Center.

A CT coronary calcium scoring exam is a 15-minute screening study, which measures the presence, location and extent of calcified plaque in the coronary arteries. It is a quick, non-invasive exam that assesses an individual’s risk for heart attack in the near term.

“Heart disease claims the lives of far too many people in this country. With more than 2 million heart attacks and strokes a year, just about all of us has been touched by someone with heart disease,” said Angela Steinbach CT manager at Inland Imaging. “We want to bring attention to this issue locally and make sure patients know there is a way to assess risk and identify any indications of heart disease early rather than late.”

Calcified plaque results when there is a build-up of fat and other substances under the inner layer of the artery. This material can calcify which signals the presence of Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), a disease of the vessel wall. People with this disease have an increased risk for heart attacks. Because calcium is a marker of CAD, the amount of calcium detected on a cardiac CT scan is a helpful prognostic tool. Your doctor can use the calcium score results to evaluate the risk for future coronary artery disease.

“We are really looking to encourage prevention not just detection of disease,” said Kathleen Wilson Inland Imaging chief operations officer. “We want to help our community in their overall wellness plan.”

To schedule the CT coronary calcium scoring exam, patients must have an order from a referring physician and schedule the exam in advance by calling (509) 455-4455. The patient must not have any current symptoms of heart disease and must have one significant risk factor including: male 40-70 years or female 45-75 years, family history of cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, history of smoking, sedentary lifestyle, and high stress levels.

EVERY WOMAN CAN Foundation announces 2013 grant recipients

(Spokane, WA) August 19, 2013: The EVERY WOMAN CAN Foundation of Inland Imaging announced today the three organizations to receive grants in 2013. The funding priorities included increased access to annual screening mammography for uninsured women 40 years and older and programs that build public awareness regarding breast cancer screening, breast health and education.

Three organizations benefited from a $10,500 grant allowance. Each organization’s grant focused on at least one of the specified grant priorities and will aid area women in at-risk populations.

Community Health Association of Spokane (CHAS): In 2012, Community Health Association of Spokane (CHAS) provided over 650 breast exams for uninsured women. Nearly half of these women are eligible for mammography services at little or no cost. The 2013 EVERY WOMAN CAN grant funds will provide 35 screening mammograms for uninsured, low-income patients in Spokane County.

Spokane Regional Health District, Breast, Cervical and Colon Health Program: The BCCHP provides breast, cervical and colon cancer screening and diagnostic services and access to treatment for eligible clients with limited income who are uninsured or underinsured. In the Spokane region one of the significant minority populations is the Russian speaking population. As with many other minority groups, the Russian population in Spokane faces barriers to getting screening mammograms such as language, cultural differences and lack of insurance. Through the support of the EVERY WOMAN CAN Foundation, the BCCHP will utilize a trained Russian speaking community health worker and medical provider to expand breast health education sessions in the Russian community within Spokane.

The NATIVE Project: The mission of the NATIVE Project/NATIVE Health of Spokane is to provide quality services that promote wellness and balance of mind, body and spirit for individuals, staff, families and communities. Approximately one-third of the patients at the NATIVE Health Clinic have no health insurance or have high deductibles, making it even more difficult to get screened. The NATIVE Project will provide education and free screening mammograms to reach a population who has statistically become the highest death rate from breast cancer, due to lack of screening.

Each of these organizations is campaigning to reach populations of women who would not otherwise receive annual screening mammograms, or mammography education.

Inside View - Fall/Winter 2013 | Digital Edition

Featured Articles

Radiation Dose Reduction Project Awarded for Innovation

Goal: to reduce patient exposure to radiation during CT scans

In 2011, Inland Imaging joined forces with partners across the region with a single goal: to reduce patient exposure to radiation during CT scans.

New MRI Offers Sharper Views of Implants, More Comfort

Inland Imaging enhances medical imaging services with addition of new MRI machine.

The Optima MR 450w 1.5T, located at the Holy Family Imaging Center, features advanced Metal Artifact Reduction Software (MARS). This capability allows for clearer scans on patients with metal implants, such as joint replacements.

Injured Players Receive Onsite X-rays at Hoopfest

For the fourth consecutive year, Inland Imaging provided free X-rays to injured Hoopfest participants. Players and their families took advantage of Inland Imaging’s services and received quality healthcare just feet from the basketball courts.

Inland Imaging Provides Free X-Rays to Injured Participants at Hoopfest

(Spokane, WA) June 17, 2013: Basketball is a sport where much of the body is prone to injury, but at Hoopfest last year, the most common injuries were ankles, fingers, wrists and knees.

For the fourth consecutive year, Inland Imaging will provide free X-rays to injured participants of Hoopfest, the world’s largest 3- on -3 basketball tournament.

Players and their families can take advantage of four on-site First Aid tents and Inland Imaging’s X-Ray services to receive quality health care quickly and to help curb the higher costs of hospital care.

Inland Imaging staff will work closely with the on-site First Aid tents staffed by area health care providers to treat injuries quickly. Players will know within minutes if their injuries need to be treated or simply put on ice.

Last year, 149 X-rays were performed in the Inland Imaging tent using a state-of-the-art portable digital X-ray unit; of all the injuries, 37 percent were positive findings.

“Inland Imaging is proud to have made this an annual event to help provide convenience and keep rising health care costs down to those participating in Hoopfest,” said Kathleen Wilson, Inland Imaging COO.

The Inland Imaging X-ray tent will be located near the Riverfront Park Carousel next to the Holy Family Hospital First Aid tent. The tent will be centrally placed in relationship to the other First Aid tents in order to allow for easy transportation if an X-ray is determined to be needed. Out-of-town patients will be able to take advantage of this service by taking their X-ray images home with them on a digital CD.

Inland Imaging is the first and only imaging company to offer on-site X-ray services for a large-scale, outdoor athletic event such as Hoopfest.

Inland Imaging aids in prevention of heart attacks

[Spokane, WA] February 4, 2013— More Americans die of heart disease than all types of cancer combined. 58 million Americans have one or more forms of cardiovascular disease, making coronary artery disease the number one killer of men and women in the United States. Yet, preventative exams that can assess and identify risk for cardiovascular disease are often overlooked.

In honor of American Heart Month, Inland Imaging is offering a special promotion for a screening exam that aids in the early detection of heart disease: a CT coronary calcium scoring exam for $100—a savings of nearly $200—on Saturdays February 9, 16, and 23 at the Holy Family Imaging Center.

A CT coronary calcium scoring exam is a 15-minute screening study, which measures the presence, location and extent of calcified plaque in the coronary arteries. It is a quick, non-invasive exam that assesses an individual’s risk for heart attack in the near term.

“Heart disease claims the lives of far too many people in this country. With more than 2 million heart attacks and strokes a year, just about all of us has been touched by someone with heart disease,” said Angela Steinbach CT manager at Inland Imaging. “We want to bring attention to this issue locally and make sure patients know there is a way to assess risk and identify any indications of heart disease early rather than late.”

Calcified plaque results when there is a build-up of fat and other substances under the inner layer of the artery. This material can calcify which signals the presence of Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), a disease of the vessel wall. People with this disease have an increased risk for heart attacks. Because calcium is a marker of CAD, the amount of calcium detected on a cardiac CT scan is a helpful prognostic tool. Your doctor can use the calcium score results to evaluate the risk for future coronary artery disease.

“We are really looking to encourage prevention not just detection of disease,” said Kathleen Wilson Inland Imaging chief operations officer. “We want to help our community in their overall wellness plan.”

To schedule the CT coronary calcium scoring exam, patients must have an order from a referring physician and schedule the exam in advance by calling (509) 455-4455. The patient must not have any current symptoms of heart disease and must have one significant risk factor including: male 40-70 years or female 45-75 years, family history of cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, history of smoking, sedentary lifestyle, and high stress levels.

Inland Imaging Announces New MRI for Extremities Only

[Spokane, WA] November 12, 2012: Inland Imaging announced today the availability of an all-new, specialty MRI scanner for patients needing an exam of the arm, including elbow, wrist and hand, or the leg, including knee, ankle and foot. Designed to be more comfortable for patients needing these types of exams than a full-body MRI system, the new Optima MR430s provides the image quality previously available only with a whole-body MRI system.

Unlike the awkward and uncomfortable positions sometimes required for extremity scanning in whole-body systems, patients can relax on a padded chair beside the scanner, reclining comfortably…much like they would in a favorite chair at home. Yet the Optima MR430s features a high-strength 1.5T magnet that ensures uncompromised image quality delivered safely without radiation. Patients who suffer from claustrophobia or don’t like the feeling of being closed in, will find this a much more relaxing experience. And, because a more relaxed patient is less prone to moving around, the resulting images are likely to be even more clear and consistent.

Extremely Comfortable
“Our goal is to provide our patients with the right MRI scanner for their needs,” said Trent Sanders, MD, Inland Imaging orthopedic radiologist. “When someone needs an MRI exam, our first concern is to get the highest quality image possible. But the reality is that for some extremity exams done in a full-body MRI system, comfort sometimes takes a back seat in order to get the best images.”

“Instead, with our new Extremity MRI, patients actually sit next to the system in a comfortable chair and only the targeted body part goes into the system. This helps make it easier for them to be as still as possible for the best possible exam. It may also mean that the patient gets in and out faster while we’re assured that we get excellent quality images.”

Because the patient sits next to the scanner, the experience may not only provide a more comfortable exam, but also less anxiety for those who have concerns about going into a full-body MRI system. Additionally, children may be joined by an adult in the exam room.

“We’re very excited to be able to provide this new capability for our community,” said Kathleen Wilson, Chief Operations Officer, Inland Imaging. “The Extremity MRI provides a remarkably improved experience for our patients.”

Contaminated Steroid Linked to Meningitis Outbreak

Many patients have read the headlines about an outbreak of a rare non-contagious fungal meningitis, an inflammation of membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. The discovery of the outbreak, linked to an injectable steroid (Methylprednisolone) the patients were getting as a treatment for back pain, was first reported late last week by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

Patient safety is our first concern at Inland Imaging. We want to reassure our patients and the community that Inland Imaging has thoroughly reviewed our supplies of Steroid Methylprednisolone. We do not, and have not, carried any of the lots associated with the current outbreak.

In addition, according to the CDC, 76 facilities in 23 states received products from the company that produced the steroid. Washington State is not among them.