由 Nancy Ryerson
, Staff Writer | November 11, 2013
From the November 2013 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
Purchasing a retrofit kit could be another good way to avoid the
high cost of DR while keeping equipment consistent.
“We’re building a new facility, and what we did was make the conscious decision to not buy DR rooms, but to intentionally buy only standard analog radiography rooms across the board, including portable,” says Michael Kliethermes, senior diagnostic imaging engineer at St. Mary’s Health Center in Jefferson City, Mo. In that way, transitioning from room to room at St. Mary’s is seamless for staff, but his facility didn’t have to spend more than management felt comfortable with.
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Laupper notes that facilities can also be flexible when deciding how many wireless, tethered or wall-mounted detectors to buy.
“I would always put a fixed detector in for chest imaging, but everybody’s be a fixed detector in the wall stand, and wireless in the patient table. Or if you don’t have the budget, you can start out with one wireless and add the fixed detector later.”
Step 3: Watch your workflow
Is your staff always running around frantically, or are there long lulls that leave employees idle? Taking a good look at your facility’s or department’s workflow is an important step when considering new radiography equipment. In fact, when it comes down to it, improved workflow is the most significant benefit upgrading offers, as reimbursement is the same whether the facility is using film, CR or DR.
For busy facilities, DR tends to be an obvious choice. Workflow was one of the main deciding factors for Westmed in Westchester, N.Y., which went fully digital at all of its sites back in 2006.
“We can end up seeing more than 100 patients in a day,” says Viviana Ruscitto, director of diagnostic imaging at Westmed.
“If patients are having multiple exams, that could be more than 100 on one system.”
Though more expensive, DR can also be a useful upgrade for facilities that are short on staff because of the faster acquisition time and decreased handling by staff — images appear in seconds rather than minutes, and there are no tapes to move. There are also workflow benefits for patients.
“Most DR systems can be fully automated, where you press a button and the system will automatically go into a position,” says Siemens’ Niepel. “It improves not only productivity, but also patient safety because you don’t have to leave the patient alone. Anyone who has heard the skull hit the floor when the patient goes down for whatever reason understands how important that is.”
Being able to share wireless detectors between rooms offers another workflow benefit.