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EmergeOrtho Imaging Department Focuses on Availability, Affordability and Excellence in Patient Care | With Imaging Manager, Stephanie Rackley, RT(R)

Coastal Region / 27 Mar 2024

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by EmergeOrtho
Imaging Department at CFCC

Rebecca Berger (left), Program Director of Radiography at CFCC, and Stephanie Rackley, RT(R) (right).

“One patient at a time is our motto,” emphasized Stephanie Rackley, RT(R), Imaging Manager for EmergeOrtho Coastal Region. “Even though we are a very busy practice, our policy is to make sure that each patient gets individual attention and does not feel like a number.”

Stephanie’s job entails managing a smooth and timely patient flow in all regional locations, as well as monitoring the staff to be sure they are adequately supported to deliver the best patient care. “Efficiencies are important to our staff and our patients,” she said, “so we utilize the latest technologies to make the process quicker and more efficient for everyone.”

Patient undergoing MRI scanning

At EmergeOrtho, patient comfort is top priority.

Another focus is patient communication. “We are trained to consider how we would feel if we were in their shoes,” she said. “It can be a time of anxiety or stress, so taking the time to explain each step in the process can be helpful. We also recently added blanket warmers for the comfort of patients. That may seem like a small thing, but it has been very well received as an extra measure of care.”

Stephanie said EmergeOrtho is known in the medical community for the quality of their MRIs and for being responsive to other providers. “We have some of the most updated imaging equipment available,” she said, “and we continue to upgrade our software programs. We have a referral service for other physicians, not just orthopedists, who can refer any patient to us for imaging at any time. They know we can provide high-quality imaging more quickly and at a better cost than hospitals.”

EmergeOrtho mobile Imaging services.

High-quality mobile MRI units have allowed EmergeOrtho to make imaging much more accessible.

Meeting A Growing Demand

According to Stephanie, the demand for imaging services has surged in recent years, with an increase of nine additional patients a day just in the past year. Stephanie explained that adding more physicians and physician assistants to the practice, especially another trauma surgeon, has added to the influx of patients and placed higher demands on the imaging department.

“Trauma not only increases the load, it is a different class of patients,” she said. “We have to think outside the box on an ongoing basis, because trauma patients might have physical limitations or be in extreme pain.”

The practice has taken numerous steps to meet the increasing numbers, including extending hours. EmergeOrtho now offers imaging services from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday, on a rotating basis throughout the region. Patients can usually get an appointment very quickly—sometimes even on the same day if authorizations allow.

“Having high-quality mobile MRI units has allowed us to make imaging much more accessible,” said Stephanie. “For the most part, wherever a patient lives in our region, we offer MRI services within close proximity. We have appointments available at locations in midtown Wilmington, Shallotte, Brunswick Forest and Porters Neck. It’s important to note that the mobile units offer the same quality imaging as the fixed-location unit on Shipyard Boulevard.”

Making Imaging Affordable

EmergeOrtho’s imaging services are not only high quality and readily available, they are extremely affordable. Because the radiologist read is included in the service at a cost of $15 to $30, patients will not get a separate bill for $100 or more for radiologist services.

“The savings are significant,” said Stephanie. “In addition, our report turnaround is usually 48-72 hours, which is much quicker than from hospitals and many other imaging providers. Our all-in-one imaging service is a definite advantage for patients.”

Imaging department at Cape Fear Community College

Imaging program at Cape Fear Community College.

Creative Recruitment is a Win-Win

Stephanie is also credited with creating a career pathway program that was approved by the state of North Carolina. Seven out of eight EmergeOrtho Coastal Region clinical locations serve as mentoring sites for students in the imaging programs at Cape Fear Community College, Robeson Community College and Carteret Community College.

“We bring in college students and mentor them,” she explained. “As they near graduation, it expedites the onboarding process to transition to full-time employees. As we bring new graduates into the workforce, the program allows us to train and mold the techs who will be caring for our patients. We train not only in proper imaging techniques, but also how to communicate with patients effectively and compassionately. Knowing what to say is as important as knowing what to do.”

Stephanie says the relationship is symbiotic in that the students are getting practical experience while in school, and the practice benefits from their knowledge of the latest information and best practices coming right out of school. The students share that knowledge with other techs, so it’s a mutual exchange. They learn from us, and we learn from them.”

Personalized For Each Patient

Stephanie related a final story that underscores the practice’s emphasis on taking each patient’s needs into consideration.

“About a year ago, we had a patient who needed an MRI, but was really struggling with feeling claustrophobic,” said Stephanie. “The technologist took extra time with her, helping her feel confident and coaching her through it. The patient finished the exam and was so proud and relieved to have done it. When she needed another scan a year later, she told the scheduler that she could only do it if she had the same tech as last time. Of course, we were more than happy to accommodate her request.”

Stephanie Rackley, Imaging Manager for EmergeOrtho Coastal Region

Stephanie Rackley, RT(R)

Meet Stephanie Rackley, RT(R)

Stephanie Rackley, RT(R), traces her 17-year career at EmergeOrtho back to her childhood. She grew up with much older grandparents and an uncle with Cerebral Palsy who was a quadriplegic. Her mother became a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) so she could help care for him.

Stephanie, in turn, wanted to be able to help her mom care for her uncle once her grandparents were gone, so she earned her CNA designation while still in high school.

“During that time, I became intrigued by the skeletal system,” she said, adding that her clinical instructor placed her at what was then Atlantic Orthopedics in the X-ray department as a tech assistant. “So this field kind of just fell into my lap,” she said.

Stephanie continued working at what is now EmergeOrtho throughout high school and then pursued becoming an X-ray technician at Cape Fear Community College, graduating in 2010.

Now in her seventeenth year at EmergeOrtho, Stephanie is the Imaging Manager for the entire EmergeOrtho Coastal Region, overseeing MRI and X-ray services at all locations.

Learn more about convenient and cost-efficient imaging services, find a location near you, or request an appointment today!

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