Tips to keep your R/F rooms running

November 29, 2013
by Nancy Ryerson, Staff Writer
Whether your facility is outfitted with the latest in digital radiography, or if your film-based X-rays are still plugging along, maintenance issues are inevitable, but often preventable. Maintenance experts shared the most common user errors they’ve witnessed on all kinds of R/F equipment, and it ends up that getting the most life out of your gear is as easy as cleaning up and holding on tight to flat panel detectors.

Retrofit the right way
Before installing a retrofit solution, facilitiesshould set the stage for success. “A pre-retrofit assessment includes a functional check of all APRs [anatomically programmed radiography], tube, table, overhead tube support or floor-mounted tube stand, and wall stand movement as well as user interaction with the equipment,” says Mike Rolle with RolleSolutions Inc. “The installation should be very clean (no messy wiring or less than standard metal fabrication) and understandable to local bio-medical staff and anyone.”

Film flops and fluoro fumbles
Still using film at your facility? Even if you don’t use it that often, be sure to run it occasionally. “Still running films when you’re not busy keeps the processor freshened up,” says Steve Layton of Steve Layton X-Ray Services, Inc. “I also see processors break down a lot due to bad chemicals,” says Layton. Even if you’ve had your fluoroscopy system for a while, don’t let it fall by the wayside. “For fluoroscopy in general, usually we’re not called until there’s a major problem,” says David Domanski with RSTI. “Try to really keep an eye on image quality, and have your technicians make time at the end of the day sometimes to check for small problems in the system.”

Digital dilemmas
“The wireless DR panels do fail, and fail through rough handling more than anything,” says Denholtz. “They are not fragile, but are prone to damage due to poor handling. Accidents happen. Essentially, the panels shouldn’t just ‘fail,’ but a lot of the time the useful life can be reduced through wear and tear more than anything.” Most other problems are typical of your own personal technology, too. “Usually it’s something software-related, so you just have to turn it off and turn it back on,” suggests Layton.

Squeaky clean
“You have to make sure everything is always clean,” advises Scott Sobolik, of Superior Radiography Systems. “You can’t have something on your detector screen that shows up as an artifact that can misdiagnose a patient.”

David Denholtz of Integrity Medical Systems, Inc. agrees. “Processors need to be maintained on a regular basis, more so than other pieces of equipment. They especially require more frequent cleanings,” he says.