Informe especial: Reboot de la radiografía

por Nancy Ryerson, Staff Writer | November 11, 2013
From the November 2013 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

“I think it really depends upon the direction the department is going in,” says Laura Chapman, operations manager of radiology at Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Newton, Mass. “Are they bringing in new specific surgeons or new orthopedic groups? What is their requirement going to be? That can really help guide you.”

In Chapman’s case, her department decided to match the equipment to the patient throughput and procedure type in each room.

“For chest X-rays for colds, we have plain film imaging,” she says. “Then we have some fluoroscopic rooms for procedurals and joint injections. Other rooms are DR units already, but the lower volumes still have CR.”

Rob Fabrizio, director of marketing and product development, digital radiography and ultrasound at Fujifilm Medical Systems, agrees. “For hospitals that may need advanced applications such as automated long-length stitching, a more premium automated room may fit their needs best.”

If your facility sees a steady stream of pediatric patients, a wireless DR flat panel detector could be a valuable investment. “Wireless detectors are fantastic for pediatrics because you can use them in incubators,” says Ulrich Laupper, director DR business at Agfa Healthcare. “They’re also lower dose.”

Finally, facilities should be sure to stay on top of the latest updates in Wi-Fi connectivity, a changing space on which wireless detectors depend.

“In hospitals, there’s so much EMI noise – that’s the biggest service issue with wireless panels that we have found,” says Robert Anderson, DCS technical support manager at Carestream Health. Older buildings, especially, may be challenging to equip with reliable wireless connections.

Step 2: Know thy budget — and consider retrofit
Of course, budget makes the biggest impact on whether a facility decides to fully upgrade to DR, to retrofit CR or to purchase new CR equipment. Many facilities choose to upgrade piece by piece, like the radiology department is doing at Newton-Wellesley. While that’s generally not an ideal option, as employees must maintain familiarity with different operating systems, it’s one way to transition to DR without emptying your wallet.

For facilities that lack the patient throughput to justify upgrading to DR, vendors offer plenty of CR options that can serve as useful upgrades at a lower cost.

“If you stay with CR, at the end of the day, it’s still a digital image, with the benefits that come with it,” says Pierre Niepel, director of U.S. radiography and fluoroscopy product marketing at Siemens Healthcare.

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