Beckley VAMC improves exam efficiency through updated radiology

BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – Imaging Program Administrator Andrew Burleson is working with the Beckley VAMC’s X-ray machine, a crucial part of its updated Radiology department.

The new machine takes two pictures of a patient’s chest area and gives almost instant results. The old machine took only one picture and veterans sometimes waited several months to get their results back.

“Not only do we have the best equipment on the market, we also have some of the best Radiologists to read the studies,” Burleson said.

In addition to the X-ray machine, the Radiology department has new scanners and cameras sending images to these monitors, giving Staff Radiologist Dr. Joe Skeens a close up view of body parts he couldn’t see before the upgrades. One of the next steps is to install new MRI machines, which will be a game changer for veterans.

“We’re doing the same test, but we do them faster and hopefully have more accuracy, better sensitivity and specificity for picking up disease,” Skeens said.

Arguably the biggest impact of the new technology is going to be on the efficiency of MRI’s. Right now, patients are usually on the table for about 45 minutes. With the new technology, that’s going to be cut between 40 and 60%, which means veterans could be on and off the table in under 20 minutes.

“For the veterans, [it] will mean less time on the table, they don’t have to hold their breath,” Burleson said. “We can get veterans in sooner.”

The Beckley VA now has one of the most advanced Radiology departments in Southern West Virginia hospitals. Burleson and Skeens can’t help but admire what they have to work with and are excited to offer top notch resources to help their veterans.

“Our mission is to honor and serve our veterans,” Skeens said. “We try that in every facet of the department.”

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