By: Brea Douglas
SPRINGFIELD. Mo.--Jordan Valley Health Clinic is leading the charge in Springfield when it comes to properly evaluating head injuries. The clinic is the only health care provider in the city to use a brainscope.
Dr. Rafael Santiago-medical director for express care at Jordan Valley Health Clinic had athletes in mind when introducing the brainscope to the clinic.
"Say you're at a game right now you have a brain injury, you come to the express care, within 20-30 minutes, we're able to give you an answer with the status of your cognitive status. If you do require a CT scan because the brainscope tells you that you need a CT scan, then we refer you over to one of the area hospitals," says Dr. Santiago.
The device is put on a patient's head within 72 hours of a closed head injury. Within 20 minutes, it will determine if the brain is bleeding and if an athlete has a concussion. If the brain is bleeding, a CT scan is required, but Dr. Santiago says too often time patients get CT scans-exposing them to harmful radiation when the brainscope could help avoid that.
"This device does not expose the patient to radiation and it gives us an answer as to does the patient need a CT scan or not," says Dr. Santiago.
The brainscope was introduced at Jordan Valley at just the right time. With winter approaching, weather related falls are expected-resulting in potential head injuries.
"Icy roads, have slips and falls all those things are always in the back of our minds so it's important to know that there is another option out there. That just because you fell, hit your head and even knocked yourself out, the CT scan is not the only option now so we have other tools that allow us to evaluate that system," says Dr. Santiago.
The brainscope is also more cost affective for Jordan Valley patients.
"Our patient population is the underserved and underinsured so this can actually help somebody that really doesn't need to go through the expense of a CT scan so this helps us give them the best care possible," says Dr. Santiago.
Right now the brainscope is only FDA approved for ages 18 to 85.
Eventually, Dr. Santiago wants to see brain scopes utilized at games for athletes who get head injuries.