Benefits of Mobile Imaging
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Improved patient care, infection control and faster diagnosis drive increase in use of mobile imaging.
The amount and volume of imaging exams done at the patient bedside has increased steadily. In this blog, I’ll explain the benefits of mobile imaging and its potential clinical use cases throughout your healthcare facility.
Improved patient care
The primary reason that healthcare facilities are embracing mobile imaging is its contribution to patient care. Moving critically ill patients to the radiology department can cause complications for the patient. According to the International Journal of Critical Illness & Injury Science, complications of transport can range from potential danger to the respiratory system, hemodynamics (including loss of intravenous access), traumatic injury, acid-base homeostasis, glucose regulation, potential for infection – and even death. (1) Bringing diagnostic imaging technology directly to the bedside eliminates the risks of patient transport. It also eliminates the need for transport staff, freeing them up to tend to other patients in the facility.
Eliminating transportation also can promote healing of both the patient being imaged, as well as other patients within the area. How? By eliminating the noise and activity associated with having hospital staff prepare a patient for transfer, and then again when returning a patient to their room. Studies show that a quiet environment promotes sleep and rest, thus helping patients heal more quickly. Less noise could mean fewer spikes in heart rate, blood pressure, cortisol output and general anxiety. This holds true for nurses and other hospital staff, too. (2)
To help promote rest, Carestream redesigned our DRX-Revolution Mobile X-Ray System to make it quieter and less disruptive. Our engineers dampened the drive motors to make going in and out of patient rooms extremely quiet; and made the brakes required to position the system practically inaudible. These enhancements reduce disruption to the patient receiving the exam, as well as nearby patients.
Infection control is always of concern within the healthcare environment, and even more so today with the emergence of COVID-19. Imaging patients at their bedside can help eliminate the spread of contagions that could occur during patient transportation.
The display screen on our DRX-Revolution is flush mounted, which helps protect against fluid ingress. The exterior of our mobile systems can be disinfected thoroughly and ready to use again minutes after cleaning. In contrast, some imaging rooms require as long as 45 minutes between exams due to mandated air exchanges. (3)
Another driver for the increase in mobile imaging is its role in providing a quick diagnosis. A portable X-ray unit enables image capture at a patient’s bedside in much less time than it would take to transport a patient to an X-ray room. Images can be viewed by a physician immediately on the unit’s console or in the PACS.
This feature is beneficial to a larger part of the patient population beyond critically ill patients in the ICU. For example, trauma patients with life-threatening injuries can be imaged right at the bedside rather than risk the complications of transport. Even patients with non-life-threatening injuries, such as broken bones, can be imaged at their bedside in the ER.
Several of our customers utilize the DRX-Revolution during surgical procedures. Surgeons can immediately view images to assist in determining and documenting the alignment of fractures, placement of hardware, spinal level localization, presence of a foreign body et al.
In all cases, faster radiology studies and quicker diagnoses can help treatment and healing begin sooner.
Workflow improvements on the DRX-Revolution
Completing examinations at the bedside also can help increase patient throughput. I’ve been a radiologic technologist for more than 20 years, so I understand the need to balance the time it takes to properly capture an image with the need for increased throughput. I’m really pleased with the enhanced workflow features on our Carestream mobile solutions that help streamline image capture.
For example, on the DRX-Revolution, the collimator knobs are now on both sides of the tube head, making them easily accessible in any situation and position. This is extremely helpful in tight and cluttered situations, such as the ICU and ER.
Our ImageView software minimizes screen transitions, so that technologists have all the controls they require on a single screen. This makes setting up and completing examinations much quicker and efficient. Additionally, there is the ability to access the hospital HIS/RIS directly from the desktop, allowing technologists to start and end patient exams without having to go to a second workstation.
The redesigned bin on the DRX-Revolution provides the ability to charge the detector, ensuring there is always a detector ready for use. And lastly, functional lighting helps alert users, both in and out of the room, of the status of the system.
All these features help the technologist complete the examination more efficiently, allowing him or her to focus more on the patient. This can improve satisfaction with the experience for both parties.
These strong benefits of mobile imaging will continue to increase its use for DR imaging. When quality images can be captured at the bedside, bringing less discomfort to a patient, so much the better.
Glen Nicholson (MRT(R), RTR) is the Worldwide Product Line Manager for Carestream’s mobile imaging systems. He has been a certified radiology technologist for more than 20 years, working in a variety of healthcare facilities. Prior to his current position as Worldwide Product Line Manager, Glen was a product specialist supporting Carestream’s digital imaging solutions.
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1 International Journal of Critical Illness & Injury Science: Complications during intrahospital transport of critically ill patients: Focus on risk identification and prevention; 2015 Oct-Dec; 5(4): 256–264. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4705572/
2 Research Gate: HUSH Initiative, A Noise Reduction Project; Mary Rachel Romero; Monica Brock; Feb. 2013 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/267343280_HUSH_Initiative_A_Noise_Reduction_Project
3 Bill Algee, Director of Imaging Services at Columbus Regional Hospital https://youtu.be/hU1G8Xa0Ejs