Wireless DR Rooms: Careful Evaluation Will Allow Your Facility to Maximize Productivity and Flexibility
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By Fred Hastings, R.T., C.R.A., Director of Operations, Harbin Clinic
Our company is a large multi-specialty physician clinic with 23 separate locations in Northwest Georgia. We recently decided to install fully automated wireless DR rooms at our two busiest locations for routine radiology procedures—our orthopaedic clinic and our main clinic. Even though we had DR systems in these facilities, we chose to upgrade because the latest generation of wireless DR technology offered substantial gains in both image quality and productivity. Automated hardware features and advanced software functionality were also important benefits.
Achieving a streamlined process is extremely important because the orthopaedic site requires that patients first meet with their physician, have an imaging study if needed, and then go back for a consultation. At the main clinic, patients may be imaged and sent on their way or the patient may be required to return to the referring office with the results of their exam. Rapid delivery of high-quality imaging studies is essential to keeping physicians on schedule and reducing patient wait times. A smooth workflow greatly impacts both physician and patient satisfaction.
After conducting an evaluation of several wireless DR systems, Harbin clinic managers and technologists unanimously selected a new DR room that is configured with a motorized overhead tube, motorized wall stand and an automated table for convenient, efficient patient positioning. The system’s software can automatically capture and stitch long-length images in the upright and supine position—which is a key benefit for orthopaedic studies.
For healthcare providers who are evaluating new DR rooms, I would make several suggestions based on our experience:
- Wireless DR technology should offer both wireless transmission and removable detectors. Some DR systems we initially considered used a wireless network but the detector was wired into the wall Bucky. We wanted the flexibility of using the same detector for wall stand, Bucky and tabletop exams.
- A detector that can move between multiple DR systems further boosts productivity and helps lower costs, while also offering redundancy.
- An easy-to-use operator interface can maximize productivity. As technologists rotate between different sites, having the same type of DR equipment with a highly intuitive interface at all sites significantly enhances technologist efficiency.
Digital radiography has been around awhile, but the newest generation of wireless DR systems delivers significant advantages that make it worth evaluating for a variety of imaging environments.