August 9, 2006 - For the July 27 grand opening of the company's new La Cholla Center for Women's Imaging, Radiology Ltd. threw itself a party.
The center, on North La Cholla Boulevard just South of West Rudasill Road, combines imaging services, such as mammography, ultrasound and X-ray into one Women-only center. Medical Director Eric Groskind says many women are more comfortable going to a center where the other patients there also are female.
Everyone who attended the opening was encouraged to wear pink. In a pink tent extended from the center's entrance, patients sat at pink tables and ate roast beef sandwiches and pasta salad, both of which had been dyed - you guessed it - pink.
The company had reason to celebrate. The new center, which first opened for business in early June, is yet another sign of Radiology Ltd.'s growth, both in Tucson and specifically in the Northwest.
As the population of the Northwest grows and gets older, the need for medical services here grows as well. As diagnostic imaging technology becomes more advanced, the services offered by Radiology Ltd. have become a more important part of the medical field.
It seems the company has positioned itself to be in the right location and the right field at the right time.
The new Women's Imaging Center is the company's second Northwest addition in the past year. In December, it opened another facility in the same La Cholla development. Radiology Ltd. now has ten facilities in the Tucson metro area - four of them in the Northwest.
Radiology Ltd. Executive Director Chip Hardesty says the firm has noticed that for years an increasing numbers of Northwest patients were driving to the company's east side women's imaging center.
Hardesty estimates that at one point 10 percent to 20 percent of the east side center's patients were from the Northwest. Sometimes, patients from the Northwest contributed to backlogs at the east side center.
He says the company decided that a new, Northwest-based center would take some of the strain off of the other facility. They also thought patients would be better served if they didn't have to drive across town.
"We think it's better patient care and better patient service," he said.
The company's growth in the region is part of an area-wide trend.
Tucson Realty and Trust Co.'s Michael Gross says medical professionals, unlike other retailers, only move into an area after the population has grown and needs service. He sees this happening now in the Northwest, where doctors and companies have moved in to serve a population that grew rapidly in the past few years.
Kim Chimeme, a spokesperson of the Northwest Medical Center, said that this year the hospital will need to recruit another 30 new physicians.
Hardesty also sees another, simpler contributor to the increased need for medical services in the Northwest.
"Primarily," he said, "the populace was growing older."
Groskind agrees that the need for Radiology Ltd.'s services, like the demand for most other medical services, has grown as the population has aged. He also says that as the need for medical services has grown, the role digital imaging plays in providing those those services also has increased.
Judy Dye, who oversees radiology and other departments at the University Medical Center, said improving imaging technology gives doctors preferable, non-invasive alternatives to many procedures.
UMC recognizes the growing importance of these procedures enough that it plans to open its own medical imaging center on North Campbell Avenue, south of East River Road.