Multi-use C-arm Empowers Marias Healthcare to Provide Rural Patients Lifesaving Care

AUTHOR: Erin Libby, Product Marketing Manager, Digital Radiography, FUJIFILM Healthcare Americas Corporation

Majestic mountains. Stunning sunsets, and easy access to the lush setting of Glacier National Park. It’s no wonder people love to settle down in northern Montana—it’s bursting with natural beauty. In this era of urban angst and big tech, there’s a lot to be said for waking up in “Big Sky Country.”

Being just a little bit off the grid sounds good for the soul…but it’s not always good for the body. Far too many patients in rural areas of America lack access to high quality medical care.

However, Marias Healthcare Services, Inc., a community health center located in Shelby, Montana, makes sure that’s not the case for the local communities it serves. Leadership at the healthcare center insists that their patients have access to life-saving equipment—rather than having to travel a great distance to get the care they need.

In June 2023, Marias Healthcare installed the FDR Cross, an innovative two-in-one mobile fluoroscopy and digital radiography system from Fujifilm. It is the center’s first in-house X-ray system and it’s used to deliver fast imaging and diagnoses at the point of care in a single visit.

The first step was training. Our Fujifilm team provided comprehensive on-site training and education, so techs and clinicians at Marias Healthcare can maximize the use of FDR Cross and understand every facet of the modality.

Now, with the FDR Cross, the clinical team can deliver immediate care to a wide range of patients—from neonatal to adults and the elderly. Whether FDR Cross spots a fracture or a case of pneumonia, it is making a big impact for area residents as well as staffers.

“With the FDR Cross, we are very efficient and fast. We can do imaging at the point of care, and that allows the doctors to immediately make a care plan. This is a little machine that is mighty,” Lisa Hanson, radiology technologist, recently told reporters.

Moreover, the dual-function C-arm offers portable fluoroscopic and radiographic imaging on a single platform, which reduces the need for additional equipment for image-guided procedures. Clinicians across the system in nearly every specialty are singing the praises of FDR Cross because they now—for the first time—have the ability to get speedy radiography and fluoroscopy images with just one compact and efficient system.

Exceptional image quality coupled with a user- and patient-friendly ergonomic design make the FDR Cross a perfect fit for Marias Healthcare. It’s battery-operated, runs wireless for up to 8-hours, is lightweight, and easy to maneuver.

One key rationale for investing in the FDR Cross was to save rural patients from traveling long distances to get the right type of imaging. But what’s even more important is that the FDR Cross is saving lives—and limbs—at Marias Healthcare.

Consider the case of a local 68-year-old man who was injured when a heavy metal gate trapped his right thigh as he was herding cattle at a nearby ranch. When he arrived at Marias Healthcare hours later, clinicians immediately imaged him with the FDR Cross. Images revealed compartment syndrome, where an increase in pressure inside a muscle restricts blood flow and can lead to loss of a limb.

Within just minutes of reviewing the scans, the man was transferred to a larger facility in Great Falls some 90 miles away to undergo emergency surgery. Time was critical and the FDR Cross allowed the Marias Healthcare team to image, evaluate, and diagnose the problem quickly enough to help save his limb. In fact, the patient is well on his way to full recovery.

Fujifilm is committed to ensuring access to high quality healthcare for all rural Americans. We’re delighted and gratified that Marias Healthcare selected the FDR Cross and there is a mutual appreciation and respect for our provider-vendor partnership.

But don’t just take my word for it. You can hear about how Fujifilm’s FDR Cross is making a positive difference directly from the Marias Healthcare team including CEO Jamie Brownwell in this recent article and video clips from Applied Radiology. Please check it out!