Advocate BroMenn unveils tech upgrades


The MRI suite is one of five in the United States. Patients can change the room’s color, audio, and visuals to make the experience as comfortable as possible. (Photo by Patrick Baron/WJBC)

By Patrick Baron

NORMAL – Upgrades to equipment at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center will help doctors locate and eliminate tumors, cancerous tissue, and other potential health concerns in a patient’s body.

The new CT scanner, Automated Breast Ultrasound, and MRI suite at BroMenn serve as less invasive and more efficient medical tests to identify a problem that may have flown under the radar prior to the upgrades.

The new CT scanner helps locate potential sources of cancer by producing a high definition image doctors examine after the test. The Automated Breast Ultrasound locates cancerous breast tissue sooner than previous exams. The new MRI suite is one of five in the entire nation that provides patients with total control over the environment, from what they see and hear to the color of the room; this helps ease patients with anxiety or claustrophobia.

BroMenn Director of Radiology Brenda Downen explained the upgrades to the equipment will make tests much more fluid for both doctors and patients.

“We essentially may be able to reduce the number of tests patients need to get to a definitive diagnosis,” Downen said. “That’s a big deal from a cost perspective and from a patient’s perspective.”

Downen also said a beneficial aspect of the upgrades will be the lower doses of radiation given off by the machines.

“We always use as little radiation as we can, but the new technology that we are using allows us to reduce it even further,” said Downen. “[For example] In our digital X-ray equipment, [we use] up to 50 percent less than you would see at a facility that has not done that upgrade.”

Downen explained the MRI suite is expanding the content in its audio and visual library in order to help patients who don’t want to hear or see something triggering.

Patrick Baron can be reached at


WJBC Voices: Jay Bee, CEO

Much of the legal analysis in law school is taught via the hypothetical question, wherein the professor poses a set of facts embodying the issue studied, and asks students to predict the outcome, based on those facts. 

WJBC Voices: Understanding TIF investments

As we near another local election, understanding what a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district is and its role in economic development seems unclear to many I talk to.

WJBC Voices: JB the CK

Based on the budget, Pritzker ought to change his initials from J.B. (whatever they stand for) to C.K. (Can Kicker).