Columbus Regional Health Gets Creative When 3 RAD Rooms are Eliminated

Reliability, redundancy and mobility help provider keep pace with imaging needs

Many radiology departments are feeling the pressure of “doing more with less”. For Columbus Regional Health in Indiana, the pressure was literal: the medical provider had to eliminate three RAD rooms yet maintain the same Bill-Algee-Columbus-Regional-Healththroughput. The hospital is meeting the challenge by transitioning to DR and adding mobility to the modality mix.

The provider started by converting its CR mobile X-ray equipment to DR with Carestream’s mobile retrofit kit. That retrofit was followed by the purchase of a Carestream mobile DRX-Revolution.

“Mobility is essential to bringing imaging to where we need it,” said Bill Algee, Radiology Manager at Columbus Regional Health. “Our staff drove it around for a little bit and fell in love with the product.”

Next, the hospital outfitted its imaging room in the emergency department with a DRX-Evolution Plus. The product’s high level of reliability is critical to meeting the needs of the busy ED, which was relocated a considerable distance away from the imaging department.

“It absolutely has to be reliable because it’s the only imaging solution in that area of the hospital,” said Algee. “The reliability factor was really important to us.”

Also, the product’s extended tube column and wall stand provide make it flexible enough to meet the varying imaging needs of patients coming in to the ED.

The hospital has an added level of support from Carestream’s DR Detectors. The wireless DR detector can be used with imaging systems throughout the facility.

“Having uniform detectors gives us an added layer of redundancy. If a cassette goes down in emergency, we can replace it with one from diagnostics,” explained Algee. “And the software is always the same no matter what room we go in to. The technologist doesn’t have to take the time to figure out what to do in different rooms.”

The combination of retrofitting existing equipment and purchasing new products helped Columbus Regional Health transition from CR to DR to meet the U.S. Consolidated Appropriations Act at their own pace.

“We kind of took it in baby steps and that worked well for us. Our staff didn’t feel overwhelmed,” said Algee. “Carestream was the right partner to help us through it; they had the right methodology.”

Watch the video interview with Bill Algee to learn more about Columbus Regional Health’s transition to DR. #radiology #AHRA2016

Erica Carnevale

 

Erica Carnevale is a marketing manager at Carestream Health in the United States and Canada Region.

AHRA – Any Advice for a First-Time Attendee?

What topics in healthcare imaging interest you the most?

August is a bit of a milestone for me. I will be six months into my new position as social media manager at Carestream and I’m going to my first radiology trade show – AHRA. I’ve been to numerous trade shows in other industries, and I always enjoy the energy of the events.

At AHRA, I’m eager to hear firsthand about the trials and tribulations of healthcare imaging from our customers and industry thought leaders. I’ll also be on the prowl for great content for Carestream’s blog, Everything Rad. Being a social media manager, I plan to take and post lots of photos and quotable quotes. I also hope to capture and share attendees’ insights on their biggest pain points and upcoming changes that excite them.

Here are the sessions I plan to attend. I’d love to hear the feedback of veteran attendees: are there other must-see speakers I should squeeze into my schedule Sunday, Monday or Tuesday?  Any advice for navigating the labyrinth of the Opryland Resort and Convention Center? Suggestions for great places to eat in Nashville are also welcome! Image of Carestream booth at AHRA

My first session is on Sunday: Planning for a Technology Driven Department. Enrico Perez, BS, RT, CRA, FAHRA, of Winthrop University Hospital will talk about the daunting task of future planning for departments and areas where imaging plays a key role. He states that, “this requires an understanding of what exists, the expectation of your customer and the visions for the future since we know our designs that are expandable, the systems upgradeable, and how we integrate with other systems in use are key to our success.” Continue reading

Seven AHRA Sessions to Add to Your Agenda

AHRA 2015AHRA 2015 will be kicking off in Las Vegas on Sunday, July 19.

While there are many worthwhile sessions to attend throughout the four-day annual meeting, below are seven I would like highlight. I will also be blogging throughout the event, so please check back on Everything Rad for details and key takeaways about these sessions. You can go to the AHRA website to view the full schedule of sessions.

Monday, July 20 – 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Grand Opening Ceremony and Keynote: Uncrapify Your Life!

Opening keynote Jeff Havens will teach you how to:

  • Avoid negative and unproductive conversations.
  • Easily implement no-cost communication strategies that will immediately create positive change in your team dynamic.
  • Appreciate the importance of small things when it comes to delivering outstanding customer service or creating a healthy corporate culture.
  • Think about change in a new way that will significantly relieve any concern or tension regarding existing or upcoming changes in your organization.

Monday – 2:15 PM – 3:45 PM
Breakout Session: Strategic Planning: Turning Strategy into Reality – Julie Henry, MBA, Ochsner Health System, New Orleans, LA

Henry’s presentation will outline the components of impactful strategy, setting objectives, assessing current state, identifying future models of care, and designing a project charter to accomplish goals. Attendees will learn how to:

  • Evaluate the purpose of strategic planning and how it serves as a roadmap to success.
  • Develop a strategic plan that is actionable, measurable, has clear goals and objectives & aligned with institutional priorities.
  • Formulate a plan that translates strategy from creation to implementation.

Monday – 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Breakout Session: “The Eyes Have It,” EVERYTHING Is an Image – Shawn McKenzie, MPA
Ascendian Healthcare Consulting, Roseville, CA

McKenzie’s session will describe in detail the premise that all data is visible and that imaging plays a major contributing role to the enterprise. Attendees will learn how to:

  • Recognize the new and emerging role and use factor of “enterprise medical imaging.” This course will define medical imaging in a much greater context than the standard (Radiology, Cardiology) where anatomical medical images are the norm.
  • Define how technologies such as Vendor Neutral Archive (VNA), Enterprise Content Management (ECM) and Clinical Viewers have emerged from the “imaging” space and describe how these technologies, when deployed, can consolidate “images” and “visible objects”
  • Define the use factor, and perhaps debunk the idea that the EHR is, or should be the repository for patient health information (PHI). We will explore the use of “imaging” information technology as a key component to continuity of care.

Tuesday – 9:45 AM – 11:00 AM
General Session and Keynote: If You Can’t Stand Up, Stand Out!

Mike Schlappi’s keynote will teach attendees how they can:

  • Understand that the best way to predict your future is to create it.
  • Be motivated to take personal responsibility for your success.
  • Understand the importance of “if you can’t stand up, stand out.”

Tuesday – 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM
Clinical Decision Support: Boondoggle or Boon? – Liz Quam, Center for Diagnostic Imaging, St. Louis Park, MN

In Quam’s session, she will focus on the current state of clinical decision support (CDS), and what can be expected next as the 2017 Medicare mandate approaches and people continue to work in a relatively new industry with still undeveloped standards. In this session, attendees will learn about:

  • The reasons for the relatively rapid adoption of Clinical Decision Support
  • Minnesota’s successful efforts to eliminate commercial Radiology Benefit Managers through CDS adoption
  • The political history and strategy for Medicare’s mandated adoption of Clinical Decision Support
  • Gain an insider’s knowledge of the CDS technical profile work that has been done, on an internationally collaborative basis
  • You will be challenged to become involved in the fight to move commercial payers away from Radiology Benefit Managers.

Wednesday – 8:30 AM – 9:30 AM
 Breakout Session:  Increasing Radiology Value Through Enterprise Imaging – A Case Study – Chris Tomlinson, MBA, CRA, and Jeff Bryers, MBA, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia – Philadelphia, PA

In this session, Tomlinson and Bryers will go through a case study at the Children’s Hospital of Philadephia where the value and enterprise imaging model  was accomplished. Attendees of this session will be able to:

  • Understand how Enterprise Imaging can increase care of patients.
  • Setup an Enterprise Imaging Governance Structure.
  • Identify how partnering with IGS can raise radiology’s profile.

Wednesday – 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Breakout Session: Leading by Listening: Helping Your Customers Be Successful – Todd Minnigh, BS,
Carestream – Rochester, NY

In his session, Minnigh will discuss how around the world people in imaging departments and services struggle to please many masters. He will share business expertise with business professionals for their use and benefit, in hopes they can pay it forward to their patients, customers, and others. From this session, attendees will learn how to:

  • Improve relationships with referring physicians and patients.
  • Understand the need to see the world through their eyes.
  • Build trust, credibility and rapport in our dealings with patients and other customers in our lives.

Additionally, Carestream will be exhibiting at AHRA 2015 at booth #1025, so please be sure to make it a stop on your tour around the hall. The top three technologies we will have on display include:

  1. A model of the company’s INVESTIGATIONAL cone beam CT (CBCT) system that is currently undergoing clinical studies. These patient studies will help guide Carestream’s development of new CBCT systems with the goal of providing orthopaedic imaging solutions that use less radiation than traditional CT; are compact and affordable; and can be used in a wide range of facilities.
  2. The new Touch PRIME Ultrasound System, which recently received FDA 510(k) Clearance and is available for order in the United States, will be demonstrated. Top-of-the-line offering. Designed for general diagnostic imaging use in radiology, it employs Carestream’s Touch Prime SynTek Architecture, a combination of advanced technologies that simultaneously provide enhanced spatial detail with increased frame rate while optimizing image formation to reduce noise and artifacts.
  3. Get hands on with the DRX-Revolution, the highest rated portable system in MD Buyline’s Market Intelligence Briefing™ (Q2 2015) for both portable digital X-ray systems. MD Buyline’s reports are based on user satisfaction ratings in the following categories: system performance, reliability, installation/implementation, applications training, service response time and service repair quality

What session are you looking forward to most at AHRA?

Erica CarnevaleErica Carnevale is the sales and marketing content manager for the U.S. and Canada at Carestream. She will be at AHRA in the Carestream booth (#1025), and will blogging on Everything Rad about sessions she attends throughout the annual meeting.

AHRA 2014 Keynote Highlights: Lessons for Your Radiology Department from a Fighter Pilot

Radiology’s “top guns” are being tested and success in the changing healthcare environment is dependent on your commitment to yourself, the mission and your team.  This was the message from AHRA 2014 keynote speaker Lieutenant Colonel Rob “Waldo” Waldman, a decorated fighter pilot and the author of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller, Never Fly Solo.

Think the experience of radiology administrators and fighter pilots are worlds apart? Not so, says Waldman.  The fear he felt on his 65 combat missions – sometimes dodging missiles – is the same stress radiology directors feel as they are tasked to deliver excellence in patient care while facing obstacles like declining reimbursement, dose regulations, the ICD-10 roll out, patient satisfaction improvements and staffing challenges.

AHRA 2014 Day 1 Keynote Speaker Lieutenant Colonel Rob “Waldo” Waldman.

AHRA 2014 Day 1 Keynote Speaker Lieutenant Colonel Rob “Waldo” Waldman. [Photo credit to, Layne Mitchell: https://twitter.com/Lmitchxray]

The training fighter pilots receive to be mission-ready can be applied by radiology department leadership to adapt to change and push performance to the next level.

Waldman urged AHRA attendees to:

  • Convert fear into focus – Commit. Commit. Commit. Place trust in yourself and your team. Identify your target and never fly solo. You can’t overcome obstacles without your wingman – be confident in their skills and training, establish clear objectives, roles and responsibilities, ensure you have the technology you need to succeed and develop contingency plans to ensure you don’t lose focus.
  • Lift Others – Your department team needs to know they can depend on you. You must think outside your cockpit. Foster trust through communication and connection that makes it clear you will not let them fail and will get them to the target. Always “Check 6” or look behind to ensure your wingmen are still with you.  Look for opportunities to recognize the unsung heroes in your service line – like those who ensure your mission critical equipment is maintained.
  • Recalibrate your attitude – Your wingmen are watching and see if you are pulling back.  Be confident that your mission is achievable.  Be willing to take risks and set a team culture for success.

Waldman’s motto “Push it Up” –  a reminder to overcome your fear and fight the urge to pull back on the throttle in tough times – gave AHRA attendees an inspired rallying cry for their hospital and departmental missions.

Radiology administrators, how do you plan to “Push It Up” in your department?

 

Erica CarnevaleErica Carnevale is the social and content marketing manager for Carestream. She is currently attending AHRA 2014 and reporting back to us from the Carestream booth, #212, in Washington D.C., August 10-13.

 

Patient Care Over There: A Talk About Global Radiology Practices

GlobeTodd Minnigh is a familiar face in the AHRA community. As a frequent conference attendee and speaker, he has presented on a variety of topics because he has seen and experienced a great deal throughout his career. In a new role within Carestream, Minnigh’s responsibilities have allowed him to travel the world to get a closer look at how other countries are practicing medical imaging and addressing important trends such as dose reduction and process efficiency.

He took the time to answer a few questions related to the presentation he will be giving at AHRA 2014, “Patient Care, Over There: What We Can Learn from Radiology Practices Around the Globe.” The presentation will be taking place on Monday, Aug. 11, from 4:00-5:00 p.m. and Wednesday, Aug. 13, from 10:00-11:00 a.m.

When it comes to patient care, is there a difference in defining patient satisfaction among countries? Are they looking at different factors? 

Minnigh: The biggest difference is probably not what satisfies the patient, but how it is measured.  In the U.S., under the ACA, we use the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey. It looks at things like responsiveness of the staff and the quietness of the hospital. In many industries, Net Promoter Score (NPS) is considered a best practice. It measures the likelihood that customers will recommend you or refer others to you.  In the end, folks will move their efforts toward improving whatever they measure.

What are the biggest challenges facing productivity and workflow issues today? 

Minnigh: The most common challenge is having sufficient budget for expertise and technology. This is true everywhere, more in some locations than others. The technology and processes exist today to make almost any place more productive. The trick is to know exactly what you need, how to implement it and how to pay for it.

What are some of the differences in technology adoption you have seen from around the world?

Minnigh: There are many. The most interesting for folks from the new world may be that many countries overseas have PACS, but still print all their images to film. In some cases this is for archive, referring physicians and/or because the patient expects a copy.

What are some approaches to radiation dose management that you have seen around the world but are not as prominent in the U.S.?

Minnigh: In Germany, radiation dose is very carefully managed. This is one reason portables are limited in the emergency department. Scatter reaches other patients even though they may be ‘far away’ by our way of thinking. Also every machine has a DAP, or Dose Area Product Meter, right on the collimator to determine the amount of radiation the machine produced. Carefully tracking this is a common practice in Europe and is becoming much more common here now too.

What’s the most important lesson AHRA members can take away from the practices you’ve seen around the world?

Minnigh: The most important lesson is to think outside the box.  There are other ways to do things, other priorities to consider.  We get very focused on what we do and doing it better, we often don’t consider if it could be done in an entirely different way or if it really needs to be done at all.

Todd Minnigh, VP, CarestreamTodd Minnigh is the vice president of worldwide sales  and marketing development at Carestream. His talk at AHRA 2014,  “Patient Care, Over There: What We Can Learn from Radiology Practices Around the Globe.” will be taking place on Monday, Aug. 11, from 4:00-5:00 p.m. and Wednesday, Aug. 13, from 10:00-11:00 a.m.

Five Steps to Better Digital Radiography Asset Utilization

JED Armstrong, X-ray Solutions Specialist, Carestream

JED Armstrong, X-ray Solutions Specialist, Carestream

With growing concerns about decreasing reimbursement and lingering low confidence in access to capital for imaging and IT needs, how can radiology administrators identify waste and inefficiencies?

At last week’s AHRA Arizona meeting, we discovered ways to maximize return on investment.

In a CE credit session I had the opportunity to zero in on one department’s approach starting with the single most expensive component in a DR room – the detector.

Idle detectors provide no workflow benefits and slow return on investment.   How can you ensure you are maximizing this asset’s use? Here’s a five step process to test your DR strategy:

Step 1: Inventory Assets

Conduct a physical inventory of x-ray assets across the organization. How many systems from different vendors do you have? Where are the systems in their lifecyle? Which detectors are moveable? Are your detectors wireless or tethered? Create a spreadsheet that details each system, its age, software, maintenance contracts, available upgrades and if it’s in working order.

Step 2: Chart Asset Utilization

For each system capture the image volume, exam throughput and uptime requirements. Indicate if detectors are being shared between systems and if the detector is being used 24/7. Note degrees of required equipment redundancy. Document any staffing considerations for each asset. Is there a technician who only works with portables or specific vendor systems?AHRA graph

Step 3: Develop Growth Projections

Forecast market changes and the potential impact on your volumes. Could a planned closure of a nearby hospital within the year drive up imaging volumes in your ER or trauma center? Will a change in local population demographics drive surgical volumes?

Step 4: Identify Workflow Modifications

Analyze the three data sources collected in the previous steps. What changes to department workflow and/or purchases could lower redundancy, improve equipment utilization and unlock capacity for growth? For example:

  • Move an underutilized wireless DR detector from your DR room bucky to a portable for morning rounds. Then return the wireless detector for peak DR room volume. Finally redeploy the same detector to the ER for the night shift.
  • Use a common CR and DR software interface to ensure all techs can operate all systems and move easily from one piece of equipment to the next.
  • Purchase a second wireless detector for the radiology room second shift to make technicians working alone more efficient.

Step 5: Review Asset Replacement Strategies

Look for modular ways to continually advance your capabilities while still leveraging your legacy technology. Work with your vendor to determine if you need to replace a whole system or if upgrading a component like a detector could extend the life of your investment.

Let’s look at a scenario where changes in wireless DR detector utilization could have a significant impact on the ability to respond to volume growth:

Hospital A has an extremely busy ED / Trauma area. With capital constraints, the most they could afford in the last few budget years was CR technology. Funds this year are limited, but there is money available. An inventory of their x-ray assets finds that they have two full x-ray rooms, one “chest” room and three portable units – all over 10 years of age. The radiology director is projecting a continued an increase in volumes as a nearby hospital has recently closed and ED/Trauma volume is now significantly higher. The hospital determines the best use of funding is to convert one x-ray room and a portable system to DR at the same time. By retrofitting the portable and purchasing two detectors for the x-ray room, the second detector can be shared with the portable during off hours. In the future when parts are no longer available for the rooms, they will upgrade the equipment hardware and continue to use the detectors and software from their initial DR investment.

Your imaging vendor should partner with you to ensure you’re making the most of DR asset utilization and are not missing an opportunity to reduce the cost per image and accelerate the return on investment. Ask your partner to take you through this five step process to build justification models for your administration.

You can find the slides to my AHRA session below:

Key Trends in Healthcare from AHRA 2013: IT and Big Data

Opening day of AHRA 2013 focused a lot on IT and big data. We sat down with Cat Vasko, Editor of Digital Media at ImagingBiz, to discuss these and other key trends from throughout the day including does reduction and outcomes management.

In the video, Vasko discusses the need for advanced data analytics tools to move forward in radiology and medical imaging. She also talks dose reduction and how IT is necessary to do the cumulative dose tracking and analysis that is needed in the field to enhance patient safety. This is because technologists cannot achieve the same results from a chest CT and a chest X-ray without having the data to analyze.

Looking ahead to RSNA 2013, Vasko offers her predictions on key topics to be seen, placing emphasis on integration between different IT systems and modalities. She believes radiology departments can’t move forward and do the necessary analytical work without easy integration between all these systems.

AHRA 2013: Creativity and Overcoming Fear in Medical Imaging—Is It Possible?

Rich Pulvino, Digital Media Specialist, Carestream

Rich Pulvino, Digital Media Specialist, Carestream

“Follow the breadcrumbs from any unmet goal and it usually leads fear.” – Erik Wahl, graffiti artist and business strategist

This was one of the lines that stuck out the most from the keynote session of day one at AHRA 2013 in Minneapolis. FEAR, as Wahl noted, can stand for False Evidence Appearing Real, and it is the main roadblock that holds many back from innovation and new ideas. His message yesterday is one that is valuable to a variety of industries, but tailoring it specifically for medical imaging shined a spotlight on just how difficult it can be getting over fear, and the advantages that come once that is achieved.

Erik Wahl, Keynote Speaker, AHRA 2013

To demonstrate how meaningful it can be to take a risk, he encouraged an audience member to participate in a “Fear Factor” task. The participant, nervous to perform such a task in front of a room full of people, was allowed to delegate the task to any audience member of his choosing. Once he chose someone, the woman who was now assigned the task was ushered up to the main stage where she would perform the “Fear Factor” task in front of everyone. However, when she opened the envelope to reveal her task, it simply stated that she could keep the Abraham Lincoln painting Wahl drew during the introduction of his speech. The lesson: taking a risk can lead to big rewards.

Throughout his keynote, Wahl asked the audience many rhetorical, thought-provoking questions. How do we look for ways to transcend the commoditization and consumerization of healthcare? What will reform look like, internally and externally? How can medical imaging specialists plus into a world of new ideas and creativity? What is an idea worth in healthcare? All meaningful questions that all contain long, difficult answers.

Wahl routinely went back to the point that human beings are naturally resistant to traveling in uncharted waters. He said that it takes three tasks to successfully navigate these waters. One must focus on the mission, commit to it, and ultimately, adapt to any changes. The last responsibility was the one he accented. One cannot evolve if one cannot successfully adapt. The changes we face in healthcare, be it through technology or political reform, are intense challenges, and it will involve getting over fears and adapting appropriately if organizations are to achieve success.

When it comes to relying on creativity to overcome challenges, Wahl led the crowd in an interesting task. He asked everyone who thinks that they can draw/paint to raise their hand. No one did and a laugh was shared throughout the hall. He said he wasn’t surprised but made a couple of key points. When he asks this question to high school students, he said that about 10-20% of students raise their hands. Then he asked us, “If I were to ask this to pre-school students, how many would raise their hands?” At that moment, a light bulb went on over the audience’s collective head.

Everyone is a drawer when younger, and everyone is enthusiastic about it. The key to overcoming fear, embracing creativity, and adapting to change is to sustain that childlike enthusiasm. It can be difficult, and quite scary, but as Wahl stated numerous times throughout his keynote, it is necessary. And those that don’t adapt can be left behind.

AHRA 2013: Patient Satisfaction vs. Quality in Bedside Imaging

Todd Minnigh, Vice President of Digital X-ray, Americas, Carestream

Todd Minnigh, Vice President of Digital X-ray, Americas, Carestream

In the 1980s my spelling was marginal. Readers would need to look past it, focusing on the main point of my letters and papers.  Sometimes it would lead to a mistake in understanding, but usually things were okay.  One day the world changed.  Spell checkers.

How often do we sacrifice quality for speed and convenience?    When we take an X-ray the patient’s time, safety and comfort are along for the ride.  Avoiding clinical errors and improving quality are critically important. Technology may be about to make things easier.

I’ll be giving a presentation a couple of weeks from now in Minneapolis, MN, at AHRA 2013 on the importance of bedside imaging and how we can get to the level of quality imaging that we should expect. When the patient is so compromised they cannot  come to the X-ray room, we really need to take the x-ray room to them.  Several technology advancements are getting us closer to just that. . These result in improvements and ensure that radiologists are equipped with the best capabilities available to provide the best care possible.

  • In my CE presentation on Sunday afternoon I’ll be covering the challenges associated with bedside imaging.  These could be driven by exposure, grid cut off, lost identification, positioning or other reasons.  Most mistakes involve a return trip to the room, disturbing the patient or heaven forbid the OR again, and repeating the image.  To  manage these challenges, most folks focus on a few areas:  : proper identification, infection control, and retained foreign body search  in the OR to name a few.Mobile Xray
  • Patient identification is vital  to preventing medical errors. DR allows verification of the image and patient at bedside, scanning wristbands to ID images can take this one step further.  Mixing up paper requisitions between exposing and processing CR cassettes is eliminated. . Infection control and patient satisfaction don’t always go hand in hand. What is sterile is sometimes a bit cold and unfriendly. But a plastic bag and rubber gloves is preferred to a staph infection.  I’ll have a few suggestions from other Radiographers for how to boost comfort.
  • It is important to  use  a grid often for improving the image quality so that radiologists won’t need to rely on repeat images. The capability exists from multiple sources to make grid alignment easier. Along with grid alignment, it’s important that  departments track exposure to prevent “dose creep”. To realize the improvements productivity, thoughtful implementation and the organized tracking of metrics are needed so operational improvements can be made.   Patients can recognize discomfort when it comes to capturing another image, but what they can’t tell is if they have been overexposed.  This must be managed to follow through on our mission to achieving both optimal patient care and patient satisfaction.

If you’re interested in attending this presentation to learn more, I will be speaking on Sunday, July 28, from 4:30-5:30 p.m. at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minneapolis, Minn. Looking forward to seeing you there and to another great year at AHRA.

AHRA 2013: Providing Dose Reduction to the Patients Who Need it Most

Helen Titus, Marketing Director, X-ray Solutions, Carestream

We are half way through 2013 and radiation dose reduction in medical imaging continues to be one of the most important issues the industry faces. Patients are our primary focus and we at Carestream, as I’m sure many other providers and medical professionals, have been maintaining our focus of putting patients first. The best way to do this is to focus on their safety and provide them with the best and safest care possible.

In an article from DOTMed that focused on dose reduction, the trends among the larger medical imaging companies showed that these providers are producing the technologies that shrink the dose delivered to patients. At Carestream, our R&D team has been focused on delivering dose reduction to patients, specifically pediatric patients, since they are a category more susceptible to the side effects that a radiation overdose can cause.

At ECR this year, our R&D scientist, Sam Richard, Ph.D., presented on reducing dose when capturing pediatric images. The research focused on optimizing image quality across a wide range of pediatric patient sizes. His team’s study concluded that to get the best image quality and lowest dose, pediatric patient size should be taken into account when selecting the kVp. To demonstrate this, a white paper published earlier this year presented principles in X-Ray procedures that should be followed throughout the imaging process to provide safe imaging practices to pediatric patients.

DRX detector

Carestream’s 2530C DRX Detector

Now that we’re approaching July, we’re proud to announce that the DRX 2530C Detector has officially received FDA clearance. The wireless DR detector offers low dose X-ray exams for pediatric, orthopaedic, and general radiology applications without compromising the image quality of the exam. The smaller detector, which measures 25 cm x 30 cm, can provide better care for premature babies and infants in the pediatric ICU. The high detective quantum efficiency (DQE) of the cesium iodide detector can lead to lower dose than CR cassettes or gadolinium scintillator detectors and fits easily into the x-ray tray of neonatal incubators.

A product such as the DRX 2530C, which will begin shipping in the third quarter of 2013, addresses the dose reduction trend that is immersed throughout our industry, but we won’t, and can’t, stop here. While much of the dose reduction focus is aim toward the pediatric patients, it is an issue that pertains to everyone who has a medical imaging exam—especially those who may be prone to having these exams more often than others. The key will be to ensure that we continue to invest in bringing more of these products and services to market that can lead to not only better patient care, but safer care too.