New ultrasound clinic to offer in-home service
For the first time in Bermuda’s history, a new clinic is offering ultrasound scans in the comfort of home.
The clinic, New Edge Diagnostics, run by sonographer Roché Wolffe, officially opened yesterday at 3 Park Road in Hamilton.
Ms Wolffe cut the ribbon with her son Zhiyah Wolffe-Simpson, a radiographer, and the junior Minister of Health, Arianna Hodgson.
“We are looking at a lot of seniors who are immobile or in nursing homes,” Ms Wolffe said.
She said that family or nursing assistants sometimes struggle to find transportation to get a less mobile patient to their in-office ultrasound appointments.
A lot of offices have elevators too small for wheelchairs or steps that impede them, Ms Wolffe added.
“With us going to the patient, it removes so much stress,” she said.
The patient can lie in their bed or on their couch while the scan is done.
Ms Wolffe noticed a gap in the market while working for other ultrasound clinics on the island. She will be offering a mobile ultrasound service one day during the week, and doing in-office ultrasounds the rest of the time.
Her new ultrasound machine does everything that larger machines in clinics and hospitals do, but breaks down for easy transport.
“I have a carrying case for it,” Ms Wolffe said.
While mobile ultrasound services are still a new concept in Bermuda, they are common overseas.
New Edge Diagnostics is now registered by the Bermuda Health Council.
Ms Wolffe said that the pandemic has only heightened the need for mobile imaging. Before opening her new business, she saw one patient wait two months to have a scan done because of changing Covid-19 hospital protocols.
It took Ms Wolffe a year to get her mobile clinic off the ground.
“The Bermuda Economic Development Corporation gave us significant advice,” she said. “They instructed us on what we could do better and how to reach out to certain people. We corresponded a lot throughout the whole process.”
New Edge Diagnostics had a soft opening on November 3. Ms Wolffe was thrilled to finally open the doors but also a little anxious.
“I did not know how it would be viewed by the public,” she said. “I did not know what the physicians would think.”
So far the response has been positive with many people in the medical field reaching out to congratulate her.
She had a few setbacks in the first week or two of operation.
“When I first opened, one of the setbacks was that the Bermuda Health Council failed to include us on the health facility list as a registered health facility,” she said.
But one phone call to the organisation sorted that out.
“Opening a business is not for the faint-hearted,” she said. “We have lost many nights of sleep.”
Ms Wolffe is starting with one staff member but hopes to grow within the next year.
“I am hoping to do big things for Bermuda,” Ms Wolffe said. “We need a change from the traditional way that healthcare is being provided. By next year hopefully we can expand and offer more services where we can reach out to the patient.”
At the moment, New Edge Diagnostics only offers ultrasound with sub-specialities in paediatric, breast, vascular and obstetrics.
“We are looking to expand with other imaging modalities in the future but for now we are starting with the most non-invasive diagnostic testing that does not expose the patients to any form of radiation,” she said.
Ms Wolffe, 42, started her career in finance.
She worked in global fund services in a local bank when her sister’s friend introduced her to sonography.
She was so intrigued that in 2003 she resigned from her job and went back to university to study ultrasound imaging.
She advised young people interested in the profession to make sure that the programme they choose is accredited.
“A lot of times students pick the profession but don’t know what it entails,” she said. “Find a programme in the United States, Canada or the United Kingdom, but make sure the programme has the appropriate clinical training you need. The biggest challenge is passing your board certification exams once you are finished training.”
For more information, see www.newedgediagnostics.com, call 261-9292 or e-mail email@example.com.