Mammography has reduced 40% of breast cancer deaths since 1990, but it is not always easy for women to get the screenings they need. Mammography technologist Tillata Gibson noticed a problem, and she decided to create a solution.

Gibson is the founder of Send Mammogram, a service that aims to streamline the breast cancer screening process through a new online platform. With help from the Mercer Innovation Center in Macon, Gibson will spend the next year bringing her idea to life.

Gibson has worked in radiology for over 25 years, and, over the years, she grew frustrated with its outdated nature. Despite advances in digital technology, Gibson and her colleagues still relied on the same methods they had used in the 1990s to obtain prior mammogram images when new patients came into the office, involving fax machines, CDs and hours of menial work.

Appointments and follow-up screenings

“That is a very, very costly, time-consuming, inefficient process that’s happening right now in our radiology departments,” Gibson said. With Send Mammogram, Gibson hopes to completely digitize breast cancer screening, so women can easily access their prior mammograms, without having to wait on fax machines and snail mail deliveries.

Gibson’s patients kept canceling appointments for follow-up screenings because they had no way to fax their release forms. She felt like she was letting them down.

“As a mammography technologist, I love being on the front line fighting breast cancer,” Gibson said. “But there was always this pain inside, concurrently because I knew we were not doing the best we could be doing for our women coming through our imaging centers because of the numerous snowball effects of unavailable prior mammograms.”

Gibson plans to create a database where the thousands of radiology offices across the country can upload patients’ medical files and breast images to a cloud. Patients will then be able to send those files to their new radiologist through an online form.

Mercer granted Gibson about $5,000 to build a prototype, and she’s working with information technology company Kellton Tech to develop a mobile app and website. Her goal is to pilot the program at Middle Georgia hospital systems within a year.

Send Mammogram will allow health care providers to reduce costs and cut down the time and energy spent tracking down prior mammograms, Gibson said. It also will improve the quality of care, she added, because doctors will be able to read past images ahead of their patients’ visit.