teamHow Cardiovascular Institute of the South Uses Smart Buying Decisions and Nuclear Imaging Partnerships to Assure the Best Means of Diagnosis and Treatment

Cardiovascular Institute of the South is one of the nation's most respected groups of cardiologists, representing nearly every specialty in heart and vascular medicine. While most leading medical centers are located in a single facility within a large city, Cardiovascular Institute of the South and its staff of nearly 500 dedicated team members and 35 physicians bring comprehensive cardiovascular care close to home by serving patients in 14 locations throughout southern Louisiana.

Cardiovascular Institute of the South has a long history of providing patient-centric cardiology services throughout the lower portion of the state, encompassing a mix of geographic areas, from cities like Baton Rouge and Lafayette, to more rural locations such as Raceland and Crowley.

In the late 1990s, CIS began performing perfusion studies in order to provide improved care for its patients and to give its physicians better information to properly make a diagnosis. The institute offers a comprehensive heart and vascular program with specialized medical professionals trained in nuclear cardiology, electrophysiology, prevention services, and lipid management, as well as interventional cardiovascular procedures.

CIS cardiologists work hard to promote prevention, helping patients remain compliant with their recommended diets and exercise routines, while ensuring that they have regular follow-up care. Like many patient populations around the country, southern Louisiana has an aging community and an increasing number of individuals with poor health who require urgent care at CIS facilities and their affiliated hospitals. CIS clinics also offer healthy heart education in their communities, while providing corporate wellness screenings for employees as well.

After expanding to 14 clinics, CIS has been performing a greater number of cardiac studies, upwards of 3,000 to 4,000 at each of its larger facilities. This meant finding intelligent ways to manage the increased volume without stressing their capital budget.

"CIS is very diligent before it invests in new technology. We want to provide our patients and physicians with advanced technology in the smartest, most efficient manner possible. Working with Universal is a great way for us to provide new technology while adhering to our organizational goals and objectives."

Tyra LeBoeuf, Technical Director at
Cardiovascular Institute of the South

Smart Expansion Strategy

CIS's expansion strategy is to have a facility within a thirty-minute drive from the region's cities, including New Orleans, and previously mentioned Baton Rouge and Lafayette. By offering local care close to a patient's home, the chances of minimizing tissue damage to their heart and improving prognosis for a full recovery are greater.

In order to sustain its growth, CIS wanted to offer leading-edge, nuclear imaging technology in a way that made sense for the practice. They wanted technology they could rely on, and this meant seeking a partner capable of providing and installing high quality, reconditioned nuclear imaging systems. However, the institute had very high standards, and there was never a question of accepting second-hand quality, a description more suited for used clothing than an advanced SPECT camera.

Currently, CIS has CardioMD systems at twelve of its facilities. Some of these were purchased as reconditioned models from nuclear imaging systems provider, Universal Medical Resources. Universal also provides maintenance on many of the institute's systems.

By making intelligent investments in reconditioned nuclear imaging equipment and investing in software upgrades, CIS is able to achieve its pledge of technology superiority without having to replace equipment every few years. By having cameras at most of its locations, the institute is able to provide better access to care for its patients, heightening the level of service they provide. This lessens the time patients have to spend driving to/from the main facilities, while also significantly reducing their wait time.

In addition to the current cameras, CIS has recently purchased and installed a new CorCam from Universal at one of their facilities. The institute was looking for another camera, and Universal recommended a CorCam, a successor to the CardioMD, which offers updated performance with newer, more advanced camera technology.

By having a CorCam among its installed CardioMDs, CIS's nuclear medicine technologists are able to perform the studies using a familiar system. This helps ensure that staff can shift between facilities in order to be where they're needed, while simultaneously maximizing the number of studies that can be done on any given day. This approach also ensures continuity of care with real-time information that can be seen by any CIS cardiologist.

In addition to providing, installing, and maintaining CIS's CardioMD and CorCam systems, Universal also offers training to provide CIS technologists with answers to any of their questions, whether about a clinical application or camera operation. With a trusted partner like Universal, the institute has confidence that it is receiving the best possible customer service, at the same level it pledges to provide to its patients.

Cardiovascular Institute of the South has made a significant commitment to bring quality medical services to the people of southern Louisiana. By offering community-level care with a high-level of nuclear imaging technology, CIS has shown that a model aimed at smaller and rural communities can successfully improve patient health while operating as an independent and productive practice.