An Eye for Answers No One Else Can See
Pictured above from left: Cris Collinsworth, Holly Collinsworth, Stephen Pomeranz, Penny Pomeranz & Mike O’Brien.
Photo by Jon Keeling
Celebrating 30 years specializing in diagnostic imaging and reading more than a million scans, Stephen J. Pomeranz, M.D., is as devoted to interpreting an MRI today as he was when he and his wife, Penny Kereiakes Pomeranz, founded ProScan Imaging. In fact, the more challenging and “scratch-your-head” rare the case, the better.
“Helping people who don’t have an answer, helping people who need an answer refined, educating people, educating other doctors – it’s that simple,” the world-renowned radiologist says of his never-ending enthusiasm for his profession. “I really have a passion for education, and Penny has a passion for making people’s lives better.”
Dr. Pomeranz and Penny have not only led the way in making state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging more accessible and affordable, they have also helped educate people about their own healthcare.
“It’s all about the service and quality of care we provide and helping people become self-advocates,” Penny says. People don’t always realize that they can choose. At the end of the day, it is somebody’s mom, dad, aunt, uncle or child needing ProScan’s services. We have always been passionate about health education and continually raising the bar in the Greater Cincinnati community; that is what we are most proud of,” she adds.
“For three decades, ProScan has operated as an internationally-renowned medical center, based in Cincinnati, which has never forgotten that it started as a family business,” says Cris Collinsworth, longtime broadcaster featured on NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” and former Cincinnati Bengals star wide receiver. Cris, along with his wife, Holly, Dr. Pomeranz and Penny, founded The Cris Collinsworth ProScan Fund in 2002. The charitable foundation’s mission is to improve women’s health through its Pink Ribbon Programs and promote child development through its Queen City Classic Chess Program.
“MRI became a science in the late ‘70s but didn’t emerge as a clinical tool until the early ‘80s,” Dr. Pomeranz explains. “The chairman of the American Board of Radiology arranged for a year of my residency to be waived so I could learn MRI in Miami and teach it here in Cincinnati. I was amongst the first group of MRI fellows trained in the country.”
As one of the country’s initial MRI experts, medical centers began outsourcing their images to Dr. Pomeranz to read, and others consulted with him on the more challenging cases. His lectures, courses and written educational materials met with an overwhelming positive response, leading him to establish the ProScan MRI Education Foundation (MRI EFI). He eventually established a fellowship program in MRI; the MRI EFI established its own audiovisual studio and built a curriculum around its impressive teaching file and course schedule, and eventually a 40-seat state-of-the-art imaging theater was built.
“The personal touch and constant interaction demonstrated by Dr. Pomeranz and his staff makes every patient feel special,” says Collinsworth. “It is truly remarkable considering the size and scope of the practice.”
In its early stages, cases were sent to ProScan through the mail from around the world and reports were faxed to physicians, patients, hospitals and professional sports teams. Today, cases arrive electronically, and within a few seconds an expert reviews the cases. The reports are efficiently delivered, auto emailed and archived. A process that once took 24 hours can now be reduced to minutes when necessary, no matter if the case comes from Western Hills or the West Indies.
Mike O’Brien, ProScan President, has created a team of professional service delivery providers who care deeply for the patients and physicians. O’Brien’s philosophy of the right outcome “every single minute, for every single patient” is pervasive throughout the company.
Today, ProScan has 30 freestanding imaging offices in eight states, employing around 500 people. ProScan’s Reading Services Team is one of the largest and oldest private teleradiology practices in the United States. It has one of the deepest and most diverse case experiences in the world in advanced imaging and MRI. The company provides a wide range of diagnostic and research-related radiology services to thousands
of physicians and medical centers across the country.
It Takes Teamwork
“Mike O’Brien took what was a family business and basically turned it into a well-honed sophisticated organization with personality and personal feelings,” says Dr. Pomeranz. “He helped us combine the best aspects of a family business with the best practices of larger organizations, and we have been able to more than triple in size since he came on board 16 years ago. It was initially a huge challenge. Mike came from the telecom space, and he put everything on computers, automated our content and report delivery. He is a brilliant guy, very mathematically gifted and straightforward.”
“Cris [Collinsworth] is a tremendous partner, someone I can always turn to. And I have had amazing clinical partners throughout my career, including those whom supported me in the beginning at Christ Hospital; they were some of the best people in radiology and orthopedic medicine in the country at that time,” Dr. Pomeranz continues, “and today I am surrounded by equally amazing clinical partners. Finally, of course, Penny gave me the courage and support to fulfill my professional dreams. She did a lot of the heavy lifting at home with our six children.”
The Art in the Science
It’s been said that the clinical part of diagnostic imaging is as much an art as it is a science. Very accomplished imaging doctors must be able to rely on their visual perception skills, memory and other cognitive processes while calculating all sorts of numbers, equations and curves. In other words, while it requires the intuitive ability to spot the minutest of inconsistencies on an MRI scan, one must also understand the medicine behind the causation, treatment and focus on the patient.
“Visual intuition is a genetic, God-given gift to begin with, and the rest is learning,” Dr.Pomeranz says.
Looking Toward the Future
Diagnostic imaging services continue to evolve, notes Dr. Pomeranz, and ProScan Imaging is evolving right along with them, constantly upgrading or replacing technology, evaluating artificial intelligence and continuously learning.
What has Dr. Pomeranz enjoyed most throughout his decades-long medical/entrepreneurial journey?
“Figuring out what’s wrong with a patient when no one else can; educating doctors; alleviating patients’ anxiety,” Pomeranz says, “and lessening the challenges patients face throughout the diagnostic imaging experience.”
The couple’s six children have watched this entire story unfold. All grown, the three youngest embraced the arts, becoming a music producer, writer and chef while the three eldest have pursed radiology with his same passion and zeal for medicine. Dr. Pomeranz is excited about the chance to collaborate with them in the future.
“ProScan’s success these past 30 years has been driven by our people and our passion for continuous innovation and service improvements,” O’Brien says. “And we are well-positioned to build on that success with our energized mix of experienced as well as young physicians and physician support staff colleagues.”
ProScan Imaging is headquartered at 5400 Kennedy Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45213. For more information, visit www.proscan.com.