Get your imaging done by our radiology team

For Bobette Patterson, choosing to have her MRI done at UI Hospitals & Clinics was a “no-brainer.” She wants others to understand the benefits.

When Bobette Patterson, RN, BSN, MHA, sat down on the table for her MRI, she was thinking about more than just her reason for being in the room.

As the clinical department administrator for Orthopedics and Rehabilitation, she knows how important appointment availability and convenience are for people needing diagnostic scans. And on this day, she was about to experience the process first-hand as a patient.

For the last two years, Patterson has been dealing with a hip issue. She’s been treating it conservatively with cortisone shots and physical therapy. But when she wasn’t seeing improvement, her doctor, Robert Westermann, MD, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in hip disorders, ordered an MRI.

The sooner you get an MRI, the better

“Within orthopedics, our key partners are radiology and physical therapy because those two services drive the diagnosis and are often key to patient outcomes,” Patterson says. “People don’t want to wait a long time to make these appointments. The sooner, the better.”

That was also true for her. Patterson was eager to get the MRI done and so she would know what the problem was with her hip. She was hoping to have a next-day appointment, and wasn’t at all surprised when she received a call and was told that was possible.

“I didn’t have to take time off work. I didn’t have to make any crazy arrangements,” says Patterson, who started her career as a nurse and has worked for UI Health Care for almost four years. “It was all very quick and efficient.”

Cross-disciplinary teams improve the patient experience

Patterson didn’t receive special treatment and doesn’t believe her experience is unique. Instead, she’s proud to be part of a cross-discipline team working with radiology to improve appointment availability and the overall patient experience.

The team’s work has led to more staffing for X-rays and imaging, better collaboration among departments when appointments are in high demand, and expanded hours for scans. For example, Saturday appointments with free two-hour parking were recently added to General Hospital from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. In addition, MRI appointments are now available Monday through Thursday, 4:30 to 7:10 p.m., at UI Sports Medicine for all referring services.

“The Sports Medicine MRI location is a very pleasant facility—it’s upbeat, there’s a dedicated team,” says Patterson. “It has easy access with close parking without a garage. The later appointments are open to all patients.”

The idea of going someplace else for an MRI may seem easier for some patients, but from Patterson’s point of view, it’s often faster and smarter to have your imaging done at the same place as your provider.

“I could have had my MRI done in the Quad Cities where I live, but if you go outside UI Health Care, you’ll have to bring your images or have them sent. Many times, patients show up for their appointment and their images aren’t there, are of poor quality, or do not capture the critical area,” she says. “Here, it’s the same team collaborating on my care to make sure things are all being driven in the same direction. You can’t get that everywhere.”