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A view from the inside

Student Health Services is evolving into what Director of Health Administration Doreen Perez called “a one-stop shop for the students.”

The medical center is now able to evolve further as it is the recipient of a brand new digital X-ray machine, Perez said.

Distinguished UNF alumnus Dr. Syam Paryani, a Jacksonville radiation oncologist, made the addition possible through various contributions to the Brooks College of Health.

The radiographic system is built by Universal General Purpose Imaging Solutions, a company that has been in business for 75 years with an estimated one and a half million units in use throughout the world.

The equipment abandons the idea of reproducing images on slides by digitally producing an image in less than 10 seconds and downloading it onto a computer.

From there, the image can be burned onto a compact disc for students to take to a specialist outside the medical center.

“What they’ve been doing is having to send the students [who need an X-ray done] out when they come in to the medical center,” said Shari Shuman, vice president of Administration and Finance. “The idea is to get the [X-ray machine] in and to pay for an X-ray technician, and now students don’t need to leave.”

Although the clinic’s designated budget allows an X-ray technician to be hired, the technician’s only duty in the clinic would be to capture the images, not to interpret them or offer any additional treatment.

The medical center does not intend to hire an additional specialist for those duties, but the department is opening communication with some specialists throughout Jacksonville in order to find an off-campus radiologist to do the readings.

Perez visited both the University of Central Florida and Georgia Southern University’s student health centers to research before the decision was made to get the digital machine.

Perez believes the machine is of good enough quality for students to consider the medical center the home of their primary care, she said.

“This is it,” Perez said. “We want to be on the cutting edge of everything.”

The medical center has the new equipment tucked neatly away beyond the patient area in a room surrounded by tested lead walls.

It must be up and operational for 30 days before it is certified for use.

Perez called the implementation of the system a pilot study that will be reasonably priced to help accommodate students who might not have health insurance.

The maintenance price tag of the equipment for five years is estimated at around $30,000.

The clinic hopes students’ use of the machine will generate enough revenue to cover the costs, but if it doesn’t, the medical center is considering opening its services to UNF employees. Perez said faculty may be seen for acute care such as earaches, but the department doesn’t intend to become their primary care physicians.

E-mail Becca Grimm at [email protected].
Rebecca McKinnon contributed to this report.

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