OceanMed has just held an open evening event for doctors and the public to showcase its facility as Cayman’s only female-specific healthcare clinic, uniquely run by women for women, located on the second floor of Bayshore Mall in George Town. They offer patients gynecological and obstetrics services and also diagnostic services, such as mammography, ultrasound and biopsy.
Shahla Powery, Managing Director at OceanMed, explained that the centre was leading edge, with quite a few modalities unique to their facility on island, unique in the Caribbean and only available in a few centres in the United States.
“We are on a worldwide state-of-the-art scale,” she confirmed.
Shahla gave some background as to how OceanMed came about.
“Through personal experiences, talking to friends, talking to family, we realised that there was a gap in healthcare specifically for women. This would be a place that is their own sanctuary where they would feel comfortable, a place to lessen the anxieties. With the right environment, we know that more women will come in, get screened and have a healthy outcome,” she confirmed.
OceanMed have a full time ObGyn doctor and a second one joining them in January. Women who see these physicians will have been referred by their GP for specialist diagnostics. If a woman doesn’t have a GP and they need to see an ObGyn, they are welcome to come, Shahla said.
“With regard to diagnostics, we will take referrals from your physician, because we have such advanced equipment. We will accept and work in very close partnership with your primary care physician and hand those results back so they can continue your care,” she said.
Dutch obstetrician and gynecologist Dr Diana Van Der Borden is OceanMed’s current full-time ObGyn, and brings a wealth of experience from her practice in the Netherlands as well as overseas work in Gibraltar and Abu Dhabi. Some of her core competencies include diagnostic and therapeutic hysteroscopy, hormonal disturbances and menstrual irregularities, colposcopy, infertility and recurring miscarriages, as well as high-risk pregnancies.
The facility has a full-time consultant breast radiologist on board as well, Dr Sana Pascaline from Estonia, who is also registered with the General Medical Council in the UK, and who specialises in women’s imaging and has practiced as a breast consultant radiologist in several UK hospitals.
Designed for women
The overall atmosphere at OceanMed is serene and calm, with an eye for detail that includes aromatherapy in many rooms, coastal décor and relaxing sounds piped into rooms. Patients are shown to a stylish waiting room after signing in.
“Our lounge is designed if you are coming in for a diagnostic procedure. We have lockers like a spa so you can lock your handbag away and take a key, so you are in full control of your personal belongings and it’s neatly stored away. This means you don’t have to fuss when you go into an exam room while you do your exam,” Shahla advised. “It’s a very warming environment; we’ve used a lot of aromatherapy to relax. If you have a biopsy planned or a pelvic ultrasound, there’s a lot of anxiety involved, so we give you that chance to relax, drink some tea, drink some coffee, listen to the relaxing sounds and take in the aromatherapy scents.”
The waiting room allows for a smooth transition, taking the patient out of the general public area so they have a private waiting space and is well equipped with a luxurious bathroom that offers a good space for women to change.
Shahla said that OceanMed did a huge amount of research before they put the facility together, working closely with GE Healthcare in the United States to understand specifically what they had to offer for women’s healthcare. She said she visited their facility in Boca Ratan, Florida several times to try and achieve that kind of standard in Cayman.
Budget-friendly, state-of-the-art care
With such a well-designed and thoughtfully laid-out facility, patients might think that healthcare at OceanMed is more expensive that at a more traditional facility such as a hospital, but Shahla says that is not the case.
“We are not any more expensive than anyone else, in fact we only charge standard health insurance fees. We wanted to make sure that every woman was given the exact same opportunities as everyone else,” Shahla said.
Women can expect high tech diagnostic equipment, including leading technology for imaging that produces a 2, 3 and 4D image, in particular allowing healthcare practitioners the highest level of images when it comes to fetal health. Their Hologic breast biopsy system gives patients a much more comfortable experience when their breasts are biopsied and their GE Invenia Abus (Automated Breast Ultrasound System) is cutting edge breast cancer screening technology for women with dense breast tissue which can improve breast cancer detection by 55 per cent over mammography.
“This is the only one in the Caribbean, the only one in the region and with regard to this particular model, only a few have been released in the US. All of our machines are FDA approved and GE held off and gave this to us early because they’ve seen our vision and they love what we are,” she said.
Their mammography room is specially designed to make women feel particularly at home during what can be an uncomfortable experience. Their Pristina 3D mammography machine allows women to apply more compression if they feel comfortable to do so via a remote control and offers a with-contrast facility, should the radiologist feel further enhancement of the breast is needed.
Because OceanMed is a diagnostic rather than a treatment centre, healthcare coordinator Elyse Burt is the reference point for patients and the primary care physician, overseas physicians and in-house physicians.
“We’ve found a lot of times that women don’t know what to do, they need answers and we have that with our healthcare coordinator,” Shahla stated. “There’s no cost involved; it’s a service that we want to offer so that no woman leaves wondering what to do next.”
Shahla said that they work closely with the Breast Cancer Foundation, referring patients to and from each entity.
While OceanMed is geared up for women’s health, it will never turn away a man who is in need of a mammogram, Shahla confirmed. Even though breast cancer in men is rare, cases have been seen in Cayman and Shahla said that men could use their facilities if need be, but they would be seen after hours to ease the stress for any male patients.