Mills-Peninsula Hospital Foundation’s Grants and Disbursements program provides funds to departments throughout Mills-Peninsula Medical Center to fulfill a need for new technologies, programs or research. The program is funded through donor gifts to the Greatest Need Fund, and since its founding, has distributed more than $12 million.
“We have all felt the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic over the last 18 months,” says Janet Wagner, Chief Executive Officer, Mills-Peninsula Medical Center. “It has been a difficult year for all of our departments, and we are very grateful for the support our donors have provided year after year. Their ongoing generosity enabled us to implement several innovative programs this year, including state-of-the-art technologies for breast imaging and operating room disinfection. These new technologies are already having a positive impact on patient care.”
Read more details about some of the projects that have received funding:
- Advanced ENT Care
- Automated Breast Ultrasound and Contrast-Enhanced Mammography Tru-D SmartUVC V9 Disinfection Robot
New Philanthropy-Funded Equipment Enables Advanced ENT Care
“I have been so grateful for the philanthropy effort here at Mills-Peninsula because it allowed me to purchase additional equipment that really expands the care we can provide for patients,” says Amelia K. Read, M.D., who is fellowship-trained in rhinology and skull base surgery and practices with Mills-Peninsula’s Ear, Nose and Throat group.
That new equipment includes a navigation system that allows ENT surgeons like Dr. Read to use the patient’s individual CT scan as a personalized GPS. “The CT scan is linked to sinus instruments I am using, so I can see in real time that person’s unique anatomy inside their nose and skull base,” Dr. Read explains.
The system works in conjunction with a new 4K tower — a special piece of endoscopic equipment that enables surgeons to use tiny cameras inside the nose while viewing the operation on very high-definition video screens. This allows the surgeon to discern normal tissue from potentially cancerous tissue, to remove tumors and do other precision surgery, all without having to make an incision in the patient’s face.
“This equipment allows us to safely know exactly where our instruments are in this critically delicate space that is so close to the eyes and the brain,” says Dr. Read.
The new equipment also allows Dr. Read and her colleagues to care for patients who previously needed to be sent outside of Mills-Peninsula for care. “For example, people with complex sinus anatomy or anatomy that has been altered from prior surgery, those with inflammatory conditions that make operating inside the nose more challenging, and individuals with benign or malignant nasal tumors had to be sent elsewhere,” she says. “Now these patients can have all of their clinic work-up, surgery and post-operative visits within our system, allowing us to deliver high-quality care in an efficient and patient- centered manner.”
Automated Breast Ultrasound and Contrast-Enhanced Mammography
The Mills-Peninsula Breast Center has long been a leader in offering state-of-the-art breast cancer screening and diagnostic services. The center was one of the first to offer tomosynthesis, a 3D digital mammogram that produces more detailed images than traditional mammography. Now, with the help of donor funds from the Grants and Disbursements program, the Breast Center is offering two additional types of advanced breast imaging: automated breast ultrasound (ABUS)and contrast-enhanced mammography (CEM).
Many women — because they are high risk for breast cancer or because they have dense breasts — routinely have a screening ultrasound exam along with their screening mammogram. The new automated breast ultrasound technology has revolutionized that procedure. Instead of having an ultrasound technician perform a time-consuming exam, the ABUS device automatically, in three sweeps of the breast, takes very high-quality ultrasound images of the entire breast, in just a few minutes.
“ABUS produces complete data sets of very high-quality images, and it is reproducible from year to year,” says Diana Baker, M.D., a breast imaging radiologist at Mills-Peninsula. “It’s a much more complete and quicker exam for our patients. We have many patients who, for years, have had time-consuming ultrasound exams using handheld equipment. This year, for the first time, they had ABUS, and they were very happy with the experience.” The quality of the ABUS images is equivalent to handheld ultrasound, but it is much easier for clinicians to compare test results from year to year, which increases their ability to spot new areas of potential concern.
The new contrast-enhanced mammography exam is now an option for some women with newly diagnosed breast cancer and those who need further investigation after suspicious findings on a mammogram. In such situations, many women are advised to have an MRI of the breast. However, MRI is not always possible. Some women cannot undergo MRI due to other medical conditions or severe claustrophobia, says Dorra Sellami, M.D., medical director of breast imaging at Mills-Peninsula. With contrast-enhanced mammography, which involves having a contrast solution injected into a vein immediately prior to the mammogram, patients can have a faster and more comfortable exam that produces results comparable to MRI images. The Grants and Disbursements funds in this case were used to obtain specialized software and train staff.
“The Breast Center has always been a pioneer in breast imaging technology,” says Dr. Baker. The Grants and Disbursement funds, she says, “lets us stay on the cutting edge of technology, so we can best serve our patients.”
“ABUS is going to change the face of supplemental screening at our center,” adds Dr. Sellami. “To be at the forefront of this technology is priceless.”
And it’s not just patients who are feeling the benefits of donor support, says Dr. Sellami. “It really empowers the entire breast center team, including the technologists, the radiologists and the administrative staff.”
Tru-D SmartUVC V9 Disinfection Robot
Surgical procedures are even safer now for scores of patients at Mills-Peninsula, with the purchase of a disinfection robot using Grants and Disbursements funds.
A major concern at every hospital is preventing post-surgical infections in patients. Such infections can lead to additional surgery as well as a longer recovery. Like other facilities, Mills-Peninsula follows strict cleaning protocols for operating rooms, giving each OR a thorough top-to-bottom cleaning night with antibacterial and antiviral solutions.
Now, patients in the operating rooms at the Burlingame campus will also benefit from the very latest technology in infection control: a robot that cleans with ultraviolet light. The new Tru-D SmartUVCV9 Disinfection Robot uses short-wavelength UVC light to destroy microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Each night, staff place the robot in one OR after another. In each OR, the robot scans the room and then applies light to every part of the room.
It takes about 25 minutes to disinfect each OR, says Ali Sandhu, administrative director for perioperative services. Patients are reaping the clinical benefits, says Sandhu; post-operative infection rates have been reduced.
“Although it is best practice to terminally clean with UV light in addition to traditional methods, very few hospitals have this technology, because it is expensive,” says Sandhu. “Without help from donors, we wouldn’t have been able to afford it. I want to say thank you to our donors. Thanks to their generosity and passion for quality care, we are providing safer care.”