U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Collette Brooks
U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Collette Brooks

Misawa radiology flight improves patient care with new tech

by Senior Airman Collette Brooks
35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- Last year, the 35th Medical Group implemented a new continuous process improvement peer review program, providing literal and figurative transparency and improving patient care for all Team Misawa members.

Master Sgt. Fredrick Gumm, a 35th Surgical Operations Squadron sonographer, said the program allows technicians from other PACAF bases to access, view and evaluate exams in order to provide effective feedback and improve Airmen’s skillsets.

With new learning opportunities in place, Gumm believes this reinforces Misawa’s medical readiness, unity and mission capability.

“Consistent feedback enhances the ability of our ultrasound technicians, sonographers and radiologists, promoting the idea of continual improvement and enabling each of us to provide excellent patient care by allowing all radiology Airmen with different experiences and training to expand their knowledge and understanding,” shared Gumm.

Through the CPI Pacific Ultrasound Peer Review program, U.S. Pacific Air Forces radiology technicians can now select previously-performed ultrasounds at random and inspect the image for accuracy and clarity, ensuring optimal methods and practices are in use. The program also increases the ability to detect potentially life-threatening concerns and expands communication and connection among Team Misawa radiology Airmen and their counterparts.

“PACAF implemented the process last year to standardize imaging protocols throughout the Indo-Pacific,” explained Staff Sgt. Nance Pea, the 35th SGC ultrasound NCO in charge. “Ensuring the best techniques are used avoids accidentally overlooking serious medical concerns such as birth defects or cancerous tumors.”

“A continuous share of data provides sonographers with valuable insight and knowledge they wouldn’t otherwise have access to,” Gumm added.

The option to share and exchange radiology images enhances understanding among ultrasound technicians and strengthens the career field.

“Nationally-registered ultrasound technicians can use the process to verify exams previously performed by personnel wishing to take the registered diagnostic sonography exam,” explained Pea. “There are less than 100 ultrasound techs in the U.S. Air Force and less than half of those are nationally registered. Since the start of this program, we’ve already received six registries.”

This information sharing process strengthens the Indo-Pacific's robust network of medical professionals, equipping them with vital imagery required to maintain the Air Force Surgeon General's mission of providing trusted care anywhere in the world.

Photo Caption:
U.S. Air Force Senior Airman William Gathers, a 35th Surgical Operation Squadron radiology technician, prepares for a contrast enhance computed tomography examination at Misawa Air Base, Japan, April 10, 2019. With less than 100 ultrasound techs in the U.S. Air Force and less than half of those nationally registered, the start of the continuous process improvement Pacific Ultrasound Peer Review program, which allows U.S. Pacific Air Force technicians to select previously performed ultrasounds at random and inspect them for accuracy, give radiology Airmen an opportunity to train and learn from their counterparts and peers.

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