Creating a place that offers women peace of mind when it comes to their annual breast screening has been the mission of Solis Mammography for nearly 30 years. 

“Utilizing groundbreaking right brain research, we spent considerable time and effort to truly understand what women go through emotionally – before, during and after getting their mammogram,” President and CEO James Polfreman says. “We learned there is significant anxiety and, in some cases, real fear up until a woman receives her results.” Dr. Timothy Freer, who is still with the company, founded Women’s Diagnostic Center in Plano, Texas to address the unique needs of women in the area of breast screening and diagnostics. In 2005, the company rebranded to become Solis Mammography and today, operates 31 centers serving five major markets across the United States. 

Now based in Addison, Texas, the company’s mission and passion have remained solely focused on mammography and breast health. “Dr. Freer’s vision provided the perfect template from which we grew our patient-centric approach – centered entirely on delivering an exceptional experience and exceptionally accurate results,” Polfreman says.

As society becomes more aware of the importance of mammography screening, the compliance rate for mammograms is still surprisingly low. Polfreman says Solis is working to alter that reality by continuing to improve the experience, in ways large and small. “Simply put, if we do a better job providing easy access and an experience women want, while giving them the accurate results they deserve, we believe they will be less likely to avoid getting their mammogram,” he adds.

To deliver on its promise of an exceptional experience, the company assessed service ideas at every step of the process. The results included easy, real-time, online scheduling, secure emailed results within 24 to 48 hours, phone, text, and email reminders based on patient preference, and the implementation of easy electronic tablet registration at each center.  

To deliver on the promise of exceptionally accurate results, Solis invested more than $16 million in 3D mammography units – delivering the latest in breast imaging excellence, known as tomosynthesis. It is also why the company only works with radiologists who specialize exclusively in breast imaging, as research has proven the results are far superior when read by a specialist versus a generalist.

Solis reports its exceptional experience promise with two key statistics. First, 98 percent of its patients say they would recommend Solis to a friend. Second, 89 percent say their mammogram at Solis created little or no discomfort. “We do extensive training with our technologists in the area of compression and placement to make sure we are as gentle as possible, without compromising image quality,” Polfreman says.

Convenience is an important part of the mammography experience. “Scheduling 24/7 on our website takes three to five minutes.” Polfreman says. “In that time, a woman can choose her preferred center location, specific day and time, and get confirmation of the actual appointment. Our scheduling site emulates the innovative ideas of retailers, hotels, and airlines so that women would find it easy and convenient to schedule.”

“Further, we have eliminated the aggravating repetitive process of registration. Once a woman has registered electronically, in all subsequent visits, she just needs to verify if any changes have occurred.” With these innovations, the company’s goal is to reduce a woman’s total in-center time to less than 45 minutes.

Peace of Mind

Although the expedited process is beneficial to achieving greater compliance, the experience has to be exceptional if women are going to return. “The Peace of Mind Mammogram™” is Solis Mammography’s brand promise. “Decision-making at our company revolves around a simple question,” Polfreman explains. “Will this process or service make it more or less comfortable for a woman to get her mammogram? If the answer is ‘more’ we implement, if the answer is ‘less’, we don’t’.”

That is how Solis decided to deliver results via secure email. Women who visit Solis normally receive their results within 24 to 48 hours; and sometimes even earlier. “It is the one of the innovations we are most proud of, and the one we receive the most positive feedback about,” says Polfreman.

Accurate Results

“Accurate results are the ultimate ‘Peace of Mind Mammogram’ promise,” Polfreman says. Accuracy is determined by low recall rates with no reduction in early invasive cancer detection rates. 

Solis Mammography’s breast-dedicated radiologists focus exclusively on breast imaging. “Clinical research overwhelmingly indicates that mammography is most accurate when read by radiologists specializing in breast imaging,” says Polfreman.  

An article in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicated that the combination of breast-dedicated radiologists and 3-D technology reduces unnecessary recalls by more than 37 percent, while actually increasing early invasive cancer detection rates. 

This contradicts recent reports of growing “false positives” which, in turn, lead to unnecessary biopsies and treatment. Solis’ average recall rate is 9 percent, significantly lower than the 11 to 15 percent industry average. This is is due in large part to the advances in 3-D technology, in addition to the specialization of Solis’ breast-dedicated radiologists.

Growing Interest

Due to Solis’ successful delivery of their Peace of Mind Mammogram promise, new partnerships have evolved through joint ventures with select hospital providers. Among the advantages of partnering with Solis for these hospitals is improvements in operational efficiency, significantly reduced patient wait times, and increased patient loyalty and referrals, which help enhance the hospital’s reputation with women, who are typically the primary decision-maker in households regarding healthcare.  

To date, Solis has nine partnerships underway and is actively working to expand their ability to serve women in more local markets through hospital affiliations. “This is such a rewarding business,” Polfreman says. “The more we grow as a business, the more women we help to be proactive in managing their own health and wellness. That’s a great purpose-filled mission and inspires our team members every single day.”

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