Hologic, the developer of our advanced 3D imaging system, highlighted our innovative approach on a special cover for Fortune. The bold, eye catching headline is “If You Could See Her Future, Could you Change It? You Can.”
We believe mammograms matter because they are your early warning system. They are the best way to detect cancers when they are still easily treatable. And yet, far too many women aren’t taking advantage of this simple breast cancer screening exam. The article on the cover explains what we are doing about that:
Women’s Imaging Center Increases Compliance By Focusing on the Patient Experience
ella health is passionate about increasing the compliance rate for screening mammograms. The Pennsylvania–based women’s health company currently has locations in Lemoyme, PA, and Toms River, NJ. The centers are designed to change the experience with and perception of mammograms, ultimately increasing compliance.
“We know that fewer than half of eligible women have annual screening mammograms,” states Joe Hoban, President of ella health. “We set out to understand why, and then created a health network that would improve those numbers.”
The company surveyed hundreds of women across the country, asking about the entire mammography experience. Women talked about the inconvenience of scheduling, cold exam rooms, mammography equipment with sharp edges and cold surfaces, the uncertainty of when and how they would receive results, and the anxiety of being called back for additional, and often unnecessary diagnostic mammograms.
ella health used this feedback to redesign its free-standing breast imaging centers from the ground up to feel more like a comfortable, relaxing spa than a clinical setting.
3D Mammography Is a Key Differentiator
3D mammography is the cornerstone of ella health’s mission to increase compliance. “Our business is based on providing the best imaging technology to detect cancer earlier, reduce recalls and improve the patient’s experience. 3D mammography enables us to meet this goal,” says Hoban. “3D technology addresses one of the major complaints women have about breast cancer screening–unnecessary recalls. We are also sensitive to healthcare costs and 3D can lower the cost of mammography down the road because it leads to fewer diagnostic tests.”
The ella health center in Harrisburg opened with the Hologic Selenia® Dimensions® 2D mammography system and added the breast Tomosynthesis software upgrade a few months later.
“We chose Hologic as our equipment provider because they share our singular focus on women’s health,” continues Hoban.
3D mammography is also proving to be a key differentiator for ella health, prompting many women to switch from existing mammography providers to ella. Most women who have moved over to ella have experienced the anxiety of a recall in the past. ella health offers every patient the option of the 3D exam in addition to the 2D views, charging a small fee to cover the additional cost.
To date, about 70 percent of patients have chosen the more comprehensive 3D exam.
Building Strong Relationships Between Physicians, Breast Imagers, and Patients
“In addition to the best technology, we have the best radiologists reading the images.” says Hoban. “It’s all part of the ella health difference, which is to provide the best experience from every perspective.”
Fellowship-trained radiologists at Quantum Imaging and Therapeutic Associates read all breast images for ella health. “We provide almost immediate turnaround and always within 24 hours,” notes Elizabeth Bergey, MD, President and CEO of Quantum. “Our women’s imagers feel 3D is a valuable modality for all women, providing higher quality images and reducing the number of recalls.”
The convenient location of each ella health center is also designed to increase compliance. “Women receive referrals for mammograms as part of their annual well woman visit. So we locate ella health centers close to primary care practices to make it as easy as possible for a woman to schedule her mammogram,” explains Hoban. “Our primary care partners tell us more women are getting mammograms because ella health makes it so convenient for them.”
A key measurement for ella health is patient satisfaction. “One of the questions on our patient satisfaction survey asks if they would recommend us to their family and friends. Nine out of ten women say ‘yes’,” concludes ella health Director of Clinical Services Eileen Ann Morgan. “And that tells us that we are accomplishing what we set out to do.”