Northern Michigan Healthcare: Munson's New Cardiac Diagnostic Center

Northern Michigan Healthcare: The final piece of Munson Medical Center’s new cardiac center, a state-of-the-art diagnostic laboratory, opened its doors in mid-September, helping further what’s already considered one of the top cardiac programs in the nation at this Traverse City hospital.

Positioned on Munson Medical Center's main floor, near the emergency rooms—for rapid access to cardiac emergencies—the cardiac diagnostic suite fulfills a long-held dream of the cardiac team: clustering all of the key cardiac diagnostic technology into a single area,  says Dr. Anne Hepner, Non-Invasive Cardiology Medical Director at Munson Medical Center in Traverse City. She expects the change will lead to faster and better diagnosis and ultimately ever-improving treatment success at Munson Medical Center in Traverse City.

One piece of the diagnostic center that the cardiac team most appreciates is a technologically advanced “reading room,” a meeting room designed to display visual studies of patients’ hearts—like 3-D echocardiograms and MRIs—in a way that a group of physicians can view them all at the same time and discuss surgical options as a team. That team-viewing capability combined with the enhanced portrayal of heart physiology by such technologies as 3-dimensional echocardiograms enhances the ability of surgeons and cardiologists to figure out what’s causing a particular cardiac problem and map a precisely informed strategy, explains Hepner. The reading room was modeled after a reading room at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

Patients also appreciate some of the not-so-high-tech changes, like the fact that the cardiac diagnostic lab, situated directly below other cardiac floors, is easily accessed through elevators and back hallways so patients don’t have to be transported in hospital gowns through public areas for tests. Hepner herself can hardly believe how nice the lab turned out. “It’s amazing, absolutely gorgeous,” she says. “We had a physician from Mayo in for recruiting interviews recently, and he said the space was better than what he was working in.”

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