Healthy Living

Making radiology a bit more visible and patient-oriented is the name of the game at Jackson Hole Medical Imaging in St. John’s Medical Center’s radiology department. And for Radiologist Robert Jones, that’s a welcomed change.

At St. John’s, Jones and his radiologist colleagues are often able to personally visit patients to share their X-ray results, occasionally even venturing into the emergency room to meet with patients at their bedsides. That’s not common in many other hospitals, but Jones appreciates providing the personal touch.

“I like having the extremely high level of community involvement we have here,” he says. And new technology, such as the hospital’s 3-D mammography system, makes it even easier to provide patients with the highest level of care.

Jones joined the medical imaging team in July 2015 after finishing his pediatric radiology fellowship at Duke University Hospital in North Carolina, where he also attended both undergraduate and medical school. Then a case of “right place, right time” led to a job in Jackson.

Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, the outdoor scene and geographically exciting features of western Wyoming enticed Jones to make the move. “I struck gold coming here,” he says.

"I like having the extremely high level of community involvement we have here."
Robert Jones

But it’s not just the outdoor experience that has cemented roots in Jackson for the 36-year-old doctor. St. John’s is continually nipping at the heels of big name medical facilities in terms of keeping up with
cutting-edge offerings. The radiology department’s latest offering is a 3-D mammography system, added last July.

“I did my training at Stanford, and they only just got 3-D technology in 2014,” Jones says. “Jackson put it in mid-2016; we are not far behind.”

Now, everyone who comes in for a mammogram will receive the latest technology available. “We have women who come from Kemmerer, Pinedale, and all over to get their 3-D mammogram,” he says. The advanced system was purchased with $700,000 in private donations.

The old machine? It’s now in Pinedale, further helping Wyoming raise the bar for breast health. In 2012, Wyoming ranked last in the nation for mammography screenings. But Jones and his team are working to change that.

The former system involved an X-ray that provided a singular image. The new 3-D system utilizes tomography, which means the camera is moving while taking the picture.

“When you are looking at a routine mammogram, you see breast tissue, but the tissue is superimposed,” he says. “It’s like if you had 3-D vision and were trying to read a closed book. All the pages are together and you can’t make out words. With 3-D, we can look at each page and read the letters on each page.” This makes it easier for radiologists to detect lumps and irregularities.

And every step toward keeping local residents healthy is one that Jones and his colleagues are happy to make.