Eisenhower Imaging Center has no patients. People do make appointments to have potentially life-saving CT, MRI, PET, nuclear medicine, or ultrasound exams at the state-of-the-art outpatient diagnostic imaging center. But at EIC, they’re called guests — and they are treated as such.
“Our vision is to provide exceptional care, on a par with the Four Seasons approach to service,” says Dr. Brian K. Herman, the center’s medical director. “Everyone is personally escorted during their visit, and we try never to say no to a guest’s request. It’s the relationships — the interaction with staff — that people will remember, and all our staff share this vision to provide exceptional care.”
Guests also are likely to remember the elegant surroundings. Housed in the new Lucy Curci Cancer Center on Eisenhower Medical Center’s campus, the 15,000-square-foot imaging center is a study in comfort and aesthetics. The spacious reception area features an appealing mix of textures and colors, including richly upholstered chairs in various shades of green grouped in intimate seating areas, soft lighting, and a two-sided virtual aquarium made of back-to-back 52-inch, high-definition plasma screens built into a curved wooden enclosure. Recessed nooks along the walls display sculptures and art glass from CODA Gallery in Palm Desert. Paintings by Herman’s wife, Dr. Deborah Windham, a self-taught artist and medical director of Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center at Eisenhower, cover the walls throughout the center. A private lounge for self-referred guests is accessorized with a display of Baccarat crystal.
Lest anyone think that funds were spent frivolously, Herman quickly points out that all the art and crystal are on loan. “Our art budget was zero,” he says. “But you couldn’t tell by looking at it.”
The center’s most significant investment has been in its imaging equipment and medical staff. Herman struck an innovative deal with Siemens Medical Systems, a world leader in medical imaging equipment, to serve as a show site for its state-of-the-art technology. Through this relationship, EIC will be the first to receive upgrades as technology evolves. Siemens, in turn, will make Eisenhower its model to showcase its equipment to healthcare providers worldwide.
Among the advanced imaging equipment available are the Inland Empire’s only combined PET/CT scanner (the fastest and most sophisticated on the market, it fuses PET and CT technology, making it possible to diagnose cancer, measure if cancer has metastasized, and monitor chemo and radiation therapy response in a single, noninvasive procedure); two of the world’s fastest CT scanners (providing extremely accurate images of the heart,coronary arteries, vascular system, lungs, and other organs with up to 60 percent less radiation than other CT scanners); a whole-body MRI scanner (providing the latest vascular, cardiac, and neurological technology); an open MRI scanner (ideal for larger patients or those with claustrophobia); a nuclear medicine system that processes images of organs and measures their function; and three digital ultrasound machines (which, among other capabilities, can produce three-dimensional prenatal images).
“This imaging center is unique, not just here in the valley but in the entire United States,” Herman says. “Because we have the best technology, we can diagnose things [in ways] no one else can,” he says.
He uses breast cancer as one example: “Often, when a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, her lymph nodes are removed for biopsy,” he explains. “With our PET/CT technology, we can determine — noninvasively — whether the cancer has spread and what to remove. It’s a huge advance in diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up. The PET/CT scanner is the perfect fusion for imaging anatomy and physiology.”
The center’s staff consists of many of the country’s top radiologists, subspecialists Herman characterizes as “superstars.” Among its 14 staff radiologists are board-certified specialists in areas such as cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, breast and women’s health, and orthopedics imaging.
Herman is a board-certified radiologist with extensive training in neuroradiologic and interventional imaging. This specialization is imperative, he says, to deliver high-quality care: “Most imaging centers have one or two radiologists who read all the exams. They may be good, but they can’t know each organ system as well as a specialist.”
Another advantage of EIC is its connection to Eisenhower Medical Center. “If a guest comes in for a lung assessment, for instance, and we find a problem, we can provide them with seamless access to the medical and surgical specialists they need for follow-up, all under the Eisenhower umbrella,” Herman says.
“Our ultimate goal is to be a wellness center,” he continues, which is why the EIC offers screening exams including whole-body scans and virtual colonoscopies to self-referred guests (in addition to the diagnostic imaging tests ordered by physicians). “We can essentially create a ‘body blueprint’ and follow that person throughout life, monitoring their risk factors in areas such as heart disease, stroke, or cancer. If there’s a problem, we want to catch it early.
“We simply want to be the best of the best by offering the best service, the best equipment, and the best care in the best environment,” he says.