Streamlining Clinical Workflows in Vascular Ultrasound

Automation increases efficiency and reduces stress on sonographers

Sometimes less is better than more. It’s certainly true for clinical workflows in vascular ultrasound.

For example, with Pulse Wave (PW /Spectral) Doppler imaging, it typically takes five steps to capture velocity profile and ten to capture volume profile. But CARESTREAM’s Smart Flow Assist technology reduces the steps to only two by eliminating the need for repeated manual adjustments.diagram showing reduced steps

Spectral Doppler imaging is commonly performed to quantify flow profiles in blood vessels. The measurement is displayed as a waveform trace, depicting the velocity distribution (profile) at the given spatial location as a function of time. Capturing the velocity profile requires five steps:

  1. Turn on Color Flow mode to obtain the orientation of the vessel
  2. Turn on PW Doppler mode
  3. Update the beam steering direction
  4. Move the gate to obtain the highest velocity, and
  5. Angle-correct the gate

Each step requires manual effort by the sonographer. Moreover, the typical clinical workflow in vascular ultrasound requires repeated manual adjustments each time the transducer is moved. Steps 3 to 5 must be repeated with each movement of the transducer.   Continue reading

Hemodynamic Evaluation and Measurement: Overcoming Limitations for Flow

Study: University Clinic in Regensburg evaluates Carestream Touch Prime Ultrasound System for hemodynamic evaluation and measurement

For hemodynamic evaluation and measurement, conventional Doppler ultrasound can only provide a partial picture. A persistent limitation has been the angle of insonation for Doppler examinations.

Calculating the velocity of a flow relies on knowing the precise angle of the ultrasound beam relative to the direction of flow. In conventional ultrasound systems, the practical insonation angle is limited to around 60°. For greater angles, even small errors in the angle can cause unacceptably large distortions in the results.Image from Touch Prime Ultrasound system

Overcoming this restriction for evaluating flow in vessels requires repositioning the transducer which can be uncomfortable for the sonographer. Additionally, the limitation is not as easy to work around when assessing regions of turbulent blood flow. An example is trying to understand the effects of stenoses in vessels or valves, or when evaluating fistulae.

Overcoming angular restrictions

Smart Flow imaging technology in the CARESTREAM Touch Prime Ultrasound Systems overcomes the angular restrictions. It generates a part of the ultrasound vibration that is effectively at a right angle to the beam. The system then interprets the resulting 2D interference patterns in the received ultrasound signal to present a more complete picture of the flow, representing it with shaded color-coding and arrows. Continue reading

Ultrasound Image Capture – An Imaging Guide Infographic

Sonographers, patients, and equipment all play a role in ultrasound image capture

Like a three-legged stool, quality ultrasound image capture requires a balanced foundation. Sonographers, patients, and equipment all play an equal supporting role. Here’s an imaging guide that explains the fundamentals. (See the infographic on the next page).ultrasound imaging guide

More than any other imaging modality, quality ultrasound image capture relies heavily on the operator. Thus, a well-trained sonographer is a critical piece of the foundation. For example, with conventional Doppler imaging of blood flow, the wrong angle can lead to discrepancies in results. Also, attaining the proper angle correction takes time, slowing down workflow.

A well-trained sonographer also is familiar with the many functions available on the equipment and uses them to their advantage for quality ultrasound image capture. Additionally, an experienced sonographer has confidence. Their poise gives patients added assurance and makes them more comfortable. Continue reading

Ultrasound Touch Panel: Your Customizable Ultrasound Machine

Innovation is easier when you start with a clean slate

Sometimes great ideas, like Carestream’s customizable ultrasound touch panel, need to wait for a confluence of factors to impel their implementation. German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer Touch Ultrasounddescribed this path to product design—a great idea is at first ridiculed, then violently opposed and finally, accepted as obvious1. Certainly many innovations followed this path. Mary Anderson, an American rancher and real estate developer, was turned away for her 1902 invention, the windshield wiper, though Cadillac adopted it after the patent expired.

Carestream was able to design our Touch Prime Ultrasound from a clean slate—no pre-existing technology kept us from producing it. Its all-touch panel lets each sonographer enjoy a customized ultrasound machine.

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Diagnostic Reading #42: Five “Must Read” Articles on HIT and Radiology

Articles include: Dubai hospitals implement 3D printing before surgery; high-tech tracking system helps verify desired patient care activities; social media may be used to obtain patient feedback; docs vastly outperform computer algorithms in diagnostic accuracy; and a visual dashboard brings together key clinical data in ICUs.

Dubai hospitals to implement 3D printing before surgery – AuntMinnie

Soon all Dubai Health Authority hospitals in the United Arab Emirates will be able to print artificial limbs, denture molds, fracture casts, and organ models to simulate surgery before the actual procedure. The new initiative is expected to speed medical procedures, save costs, and help doctors pMedical team performing surgerylan complicated surgeries. Also 3D printing will help in providing accuracy in medical education.

Tracking technology serves many purposes in new facility – Health Data Management

A new hospital installed a high-tech tracking system that uses tags attached to clinicians and patients to monitor activity and verify that required actions are being taken. For example, if a patient is not seen by a nurse within a specific time threshold a TV screen at the nurse station notes the time lapse and the appropriate nurse is alerted. Tags on patients let personnel know where they are at all times and let family and friends track the progress of a patient in surgery via a screen in waiting rooms. This system also assists in patient flow, admission and transfer-referral procedures, as well as tracking patients who left without being seen and ED diversions. Continue reading

Diagnostic Reading #41: Five “Must Read” Articles on HIT and Radiology

In the news: work-related injuries plague sonographers; radiologists want to help fight elder abuse

News for radiology and health IT professionals

Articles include: sonographers are vulnerable to musculoskeletal pain; proactive outreach to patients improves outcomes; radiologists want to do more to help identify and eliminate elder abuse; a brain-computer interface helps paralyzed man feel again; and a new report says enterprise data protection strategies might not be fully aligned with IT modernization initiatives driven by cloud computing.

Sonographers remain vulnerable to musculoskeletal pain – AuntMinnie

Work-related musculoskeletal disorders still remain a problem for sonographers according to a recent survey. However much can be done to improve sonographer working conditions and decrease the prevalence of pain. Researchers recommend optimal visual conditions, adjustable components of the ultrasonic machine and the computer workstation, and education concerning ergonomic guidelines.

Direct outreach to patients by HIM professionals improves outcomes, patient satisfaction – Health Management Technology

Proactive outreach to patients by HIM specialists increased the use of a personal health record, improved outcomes and satisfaction, and enhanced communication between health IT specialists and providers. A unique patient outreach program deployed a personal health record coordinator to meet with patients to explain the benefits of a personal health record. The program includes a hands-on approach for removing barriers and engaging families. Continue reading

How the Affordable Care Act Affects Diagnostic Medical Sonographers

Six years yield five significant changes in the field of sonography

Over the last six years, healthcare in the U.S. has undergone a rapid series of changes and reforms. From the way Americans pay for care to how care is provided, the post Affordable Care ActIllustration of Affordable Care Act era of healthcare is unlike anything we have ever experienced. Diagnostic medical sonographers, also known as ultrasound technologists or ultrasound technicians, have begun to feel the effects of the Affordable Care Act on almost every aspect of their daily job duties.

More healthcare consumers

More Americans are consuming healthcare services than ever before. It is estimated that more than 20 million previously uninsured Americans gained access to health insurance through the Affordable Care Act from federal and state exchange programs, employer mandates, and/ or Medicaid expansion. Hospital and healthcare facilities are seeing more patients than ever before, which means more diagnostic tests, like ultrasounds, are being ordered. However, this sharp increase in healthcare consumption was not matched with an equal increase in human or capital healthcare resources.

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Diagnostic Reading #34: Five “Must Read” Articles on Radiology and Healthcare from the Past Week

Healthcare news includes videos that improve radiologists’ ultrasound skills; and concerns about Obamacare

image of hospital patient

 

Articles include: MR-guided ultrasound helped rouse a recovering coma patient to a more alert state of consciousness; incidental and secondary findings are on the rise; use of telemedicine requires “webside” training; 10-minute videos improve pediatric radiologists’ ultrasound skills; and double-digit premium increases and exits by big-name insurers cause some to wonder if “Obamacare” will go down as a failed experiment.

MR-guided brain ultrasound helps rouse coma patient back to consciousness – Health Imaging

Neuroscience researchers and clinicians at UCLA have used MR-guided ultrasound to help rouse a recovering coma patient to a more alert state of consciousness. They’re not certain about the extent to which the novel therapy contributed to the good outcome, but they’re sufficiently hopeful to have begun recruiting participants for a larger trial.

Patient preferences should guide decisions around incidental findings – Health Imaging

Incidental and secondary findings are on the rise, thanks largely to advances in diagnostic technologies and adoptions of value-based practice incentives. As such findings increasingly confound patients as well as clinicians—not to mention medical ethicists and malpractice courts — radiology would do well to follow discussions going on in the field of genetic testing.

At the ‘webside’ – Modern Healthcare

As telemedicine takes root, there’s a growing need to train physicians on how to handle virtual visits with patients and develop a good ‘webside manner.’ Physicians must offer an empathetic and compassionate presence to calm fears and provide hope for patients who may be suffering from anything from serious to common illnesses. Medical schools have always included training in bedside manner in their curricula—now webside training might also be essential. Continue reading

Diagnostic Reading #29: Five “Must Read” Articles on HIT and Radiology from the Past Week

In the news: reducing inappropriate imaging and archiving POC ultrasound studies

Articles include: a study that finds radiologists can work with referring physicians to significantly reduce inappropriate imaging; the topic of deconstructed PACS is creating controversy; telehealth initiatives are beginning to gain ground; a study reports it’s relatively easy to increase the number of ED point-of-care ultrasound studies being archived on PACS; and functional MRI might help settle an open question over “second impact syndrome” in child and teen football players.

Radiologists’ expertise cuts inappropriate imaging

Radiologists who participate in a radiology benefits management program (RBM) by consulting with referring physicians can help reduce inappropriate imaging by at least 20%, according to a new study published in the July edition of the American Journal of Roentgenology. This finding is good news for a specialty long considered to be behind the scenes in patient care.

Deconstructed PACS: 12 Tidbits on Hype, Reality, Caveats, ProspectsModule Image

There are few topics that create more controversy in the imaging informatics marketplace than the topic of deconstructed PACS, which could alter revenue flow in imaging IT while yielding a profound impact on vendors’ go-to market strategy.

 

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