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Hospitals across the state will be getting new ultrasound imaging devices

The back of blonde haired woman looking at a monitor in a hospital setting.
North Platte Valley Medical Center
North Platte Valley Medical Center sonographer Shelby Krugman demonstrates some of the capabilities of the GE Logiq E10 R3 cardiac package which is used to perform echocardiograms.

Hospitals throughout Wyoming will receive 143 ultrasound imaging devices. Plus the University of Wyoming (UW) will provide training opportunities so physicians can use the devices to the best of their ability.

That’s all thanks to a nearly $13.9 million grant from the Helmsley Charitable Trust.

Ultrasounds can help providers make timely diagnosis for things like gallbladder disease and prostate problems and then provide appropriate treatment. This means more patients can be screened and diagnosed close to home rather than traveling great distances on sometimes treacherous roads.

Mike Hunsaker, Senior Vice President at Star Valley Health in Afton, said having this type of imaging services in rural western Wyoming is a game changer.

“For rural hospitals, being able to care for those at a time when they are most vulnerable is a privilege,” said Hunsaker. “Working with the most up to date equipment for our ultrasound staff can mean having the most accurate images to diagnose [and] treat patients for a range of medical conditions.”

The majority of the devices will be used at patients’ beds to get quick diagnoses, but 20 will be specifically used to image the heart.

The grant includes money to provide physician training on these devices - those able to use ultrasounds are known as sonographers.

The initiative also includes nearly $1.6 million for UW’s Wyoming Ultrasound Training Initiative, which aims to enhance patient care across the state by both broadening the scope of training in specialty ultrasound and bolstering access to quality point-of-care ultrasound services. The goal is to not only improve patient outcomes but also to ensure that healthcare professionals are equipped with the necessary tools and knowledge to deliver high-quality care throughout the state.

The training initiative will be led by Jacob Warren, a professor at the University of Wyoming College of Health Sciences, and supported by two full-time staff members.

“[We have] anticipated 12,000 openings each year here in Wyoming. And certain areas of the state, those positions are expected to grow even more,” said Warren. “For example, in Casper, in Cheyenne, the demand for sonographers will increase more than 23 percent by 2030 due to growth in the healthcare sector.”

The goal is to not only improve patient outcomes, but also to ensure that healthcare professionals are equipped with the necessary tools and knowledge to deliver high-quality care throughout the state.

Kamila has worked for public radio stations in California, New York, France and Poland. Originally from New York City, she loves exploring new places. Kamila received her master in journalism from Columbia University. She has won a regional Murrow award for her reporting on mental health and firearm owners. During her time leading the Wyoming Public Media newsroom, reporters have won multiple PMJA, Murrow and Top of the Rockies Excellence in Journalism Awards. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring the surrounding areas with her two pups and husband.

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