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Shared Medical Services deploys first mobile digital PET/CT systems in US

por John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | July 27, 2020
Mobile Imaging Molecular Imaging
SMS and UIH are set to deploy the first mobile digital PET/CT systems in the U.S.
Shared Medical Services (SMS) deployed the first mobile digital PET/CT Monday to U.S. healthcare providers.

The system, which consists of United Imaging's uMI 550 digital PET/CT on an SMS mobile imaging vehicle, will allow health systems, medical centers, hospitals, imaging centers and clinics the opportunity to improve their standard of care with state-of-the-art diagnostic cancer detection and staging tools.

"Significant advancements in technology have been made since the earlier generations of PET/CT equipment. OEM's have digital PET/CT at the top end of their product portfolios which validates the need in the marketplace but to-date it has been cost prohibitive for most locations," Maureen Kenney, president of Shared Medical Services, told HCB News. "Our mobile digital PET/CT service will improve access to the latest PET/CT imaging technology for facilities and patients across the country, regardless of location."

The scanner made its debut back in November at the at the 2019 Radiological Society of North America annual meeting.

The scanner features an 80-slice diagnostic CT with ultra-low electronic noise, and provides high-resolution CT images with NEMA resolution of 2.9 mm to visualize fine details of small anatomic structures. It also has a large axial PET FOV and high system sensitivity, and comes with advanced technologies such as time-of-flight, point spread function, HYPER Iterative (ROSEM), deviceless gating, motion head correction, and metal artifact correction, according to United Imaging.

While the system is expected to bring benefits to all healthcare markets, it may be particularly useful in rural areas in the Midwest where access to high-quality imaging is limited. People in these environments, on average, live 10.5 miles from their closest hospital, compared to urban and suburban residents, who live 4.4 miles and 5.6 miles from their closest providers, respectively.

SMS introduced mobile PET/CT scanners in 2003. Digital PET/CT technology, however, has been stationary and restricted primarily to research centers, due to its high costs.

"Other imaging modalities have already evolved from analog to digital," said Kenney. "Mammography is a perfect example with the conversion from screen film to digital and to 3D. Analog detectors are based on older technology. Digital detectors are state-of-the-art. Image quality, speed, ease of use, repairability, reliability, and readiness for future imaging agents are just a few of the high-levels advantages of digital PET/CT."

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