Getting creative to make capital equipment purchases easier

Capital budgets are decreasing despite ever-increasing patient volumes

A recent report from DOTmed News on leasing and financing medical equipment highlights an issue we are all acutely aware of: capital budgets for imaging equipment are getting tightly squeezed, for a variety of reasons, despite the proven value of medical imaging.

Our customers tell us that demand for medical imaging services is stronger than ever. Healthcare providers are looking to companies like ours to help them provide better care for more people more efficiently. The challenge for many, however, is gaining access to technology that can help them realize these gains.

The takeaway, for us, is that we need to do everything we can to make it easier for customers to gain access to our solutions.

That’s why we are offering some uniquely creative and favorable options for financing, leasing and renting Carestream products. We work with customers to determine exactly what their needs are, what their budgetary parameters are, whether leasing or rental might be a preferred option, and then tailor a solution that fits their needs.

Options vary from a flexible up-front investment (including none), delaying payment for different time spans, flexible buyout options for leases, and a unique rental program that helps facilities avoid the capital budget purchasing process altogether. For example, facilities can acquire our Carestream DRX-1 System with a monthly rental payment that preserves their capital budget—with flexibility at the end of the rental period to purchase the system for its fair market value, return the system or continue renting.

Equally important, facilities need credible data that clearly shows the return on investment they can expect to see from implementing our solutions. This helps administrators and directors build a case for capital purchases, which can be shared and analyzed with decision-makers. This is an area we will continue to focus on in 2010.

What would help your facility in terms of leasing or financing? What do you look for when purchasing new equipment? We want to hear!

– Diana Nole, President, Digital Medical Solutions

Improvements Needed in Critical Results Reporting

Guest Post: Dr. Roger Eng, MD, MPH; Chief of Radiology; Chinese Hospital, San Francisco

At RSNA last week, critical results reporting continued to be a hot topic of discussion.  We all respect the requirement that critical results should be communicated quickly and efficiently to clinicians—the problem is how to streamline this process.

First, it is essential for radiologists to receive data about what is already known about a patient’s condition. I recently read a neck CT on a patient and on the last image of the study, I found a 5 centimeter acute bleed in the brain. There was no prior mention of any bleeding issues in the patient’s data, so I immediately began calling clinicians to communicate this urgent finding. After spending 20 minutes making phone calls, I reached a physician and discovered they knew about the bleed and the patient was already being treated for it!

A much more common problem, however, is when radiologists have difficulty reaching physicians with critical results about an unknown condition that requires immediate treatment. We are finally beginning to see progress in automating this process by integrating critical results reporting capabilities into modern RIS platforms. Ensuring that accurate and updated contact information is readily available can improve patient outcomes—and in some cases, can save lives.

How do you handle critical results reporting? Do you have an automated process? Is the functionality integrated with the RIS or is it delivered differently?

Dr. Eng, Chinese Hospital, San Francisco, CA

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Are tradeshows outdated? Carestream CMO Norman Yung weighs in on our RSNA 2009 experience

 

At RSNA 2009, customers and equipment providers are talking about the same thing—how solutions can help improve productivity and streamline workflow to achieve lower costs. It’s been great to hear customers this week tell us that our solutions are delivering on these key objectives. Equally exciting, we are continuing to build on our reputation for innovation in DR and RIS/PACS technologies.

Healthcare facilities love the flexibility of our DRX-1 technology platform—the distinctive benefit of driving a cost-effective transition from analog to digital; the ability to be upgraded to a fully automated DR suite (DRX-Evolution); and the ability to become a retrofit solution with mobile X-ray systems from other vendors (DRX-Mobile, shown as a work in progress).

Key competitive advantages of our RIS/PACS are also striking a chord with customers. For PACS, our unique ability to automate the review of volumetric exams, automatic registration, advanced bone removal and vessel tracking analysis are turning more than a few heads. On the RIS side, new features including critical results notification (a hot topic at this year’s RSNA), peer review and protocol workflows — all built into a single integrated system — are really resonating with the imaging professionials we are speaking with at the conference.

Tradeshows are sometimes viewed as outdated. But to the contrary, our RSNA 2009 experience validates the importance of being able to see product demonstrations from multiple vendors at the same venue. We welcome the opportunity to go head-to-head with our competitors. It gives us a chance to spotlight our technological advantages as well as showcase the ease of use and cost efficiency that is built into our imaging and information management solutions.

If you would like to learn more about the solutions we are showcasing at RSNA, or you simply would like to chat with us about what you’re trying to accomplish in healthcare, please leave a comment below or drop us a line on website.

– Norman Yung, Chief Marketing Officer, Carestream Health

Skin Cancer imaging gets media attention this morning at RSNA 2009

Greetings from Day 3 of RSNA 2009! We ran into our friend and CSH Board Member, Eliot L. Siegel, M.D., early this morning as he was headed to prepare for what sounded like a very interesting press conference focusing on new skin cancer imaging techniques. Dr. Siegel remarked that a mix of mainstream and trade media were expected to attend—with a lot of interest in this topic from the mainstream media in particular.

This is not surprising, given the prevalence of skin cancer (it’s the most common of all cancers—accounting for nearly half of all cancers in the U.S.). Yet surprisingly, it often gets lost amid other discussions surrounding new imaging techniques and technologies for the myriad of other cancers that exist. Look for possible media coverage starting later today on this important topic, with the press conference officially billed as, “Special Ultrasound Accurately Identifies Skin Cancer—Eliot L. Siegel, M.D., Bahar Dasgeb, M.D.”

In other media-related coverage, here is a quick video interview with Cristen Bolan, editor of Imaging Technology News, providing her perspective on what’s hot at RSNA 2009 with Carestream Health’s own Robert Salmon (please pardon the background noise—it was loud at the CSH booth yesterday!).

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/carestreamhealth1#p/u/0/IR9CkO-775o]