Guidelines for Choosing X-ray Room Equipment
Reading Time: 8 minutes read
Understanding features that improve clinical workflow and efficiency.
New X-ray room equipment is a major expenditure for an imaging facility, and the choice you make today can impact your ability to leverage future capabilities.
This blog details two important aspects that you should consider when purchasing new X-ray room equipment:
- Capabilities that will help you improve the workflow and efficiency of your imaging exams; and
- The capability to leverage future advances in imaging like Artificial Intelligence applications in image capture and automation.
Read on to learn more.
Improve workflow and efficiency
Increasing exam throughput adds revenue to the bottom line. Equally important, being able to perform an exam in less time and with less movement by the radiographer can increase satisfaction for both the patient and the radiographer. Imaging workflow is precise and intricate, so I’ve broken the discussion down to two areas: equipment positioning, and automation and ease of access.
Equipment positioning begins with the tube column
As every radiographer knows, positioning the equipment is the most time-intensive part of the imaging exam process. Every radiographer also knows that the overhead tube column is critical to positioning.
What does this mean for your selection of X-ray room equipment? Moving the overhead tube column into position takes time so look for a lighter tube head. When the head weighs less and is easier to move, your radiographers can be more efficient.
The flexibility of the tubehead also is critical to accommodate unconventional positioning. Not every patient is able to be positioned in the ideal way. Sometimes patients don’t understand the instruction. For others, it is physically impossible due to their injuries. A flexible tubehead makes it easier for radiographers to get creative with their positioning in these instances. Also, X-ray equipment that offers multiple configurations, such as an extended tube column to support higher room heights, allows flexibility with various room layouts.
Automation and ease of access help increase speed and reduce fatigue
Radiographers repeat the same functions over and over throughout the day. Automating some of these repetitive tasks and making it easier to access others can make a big difference in productivity.I have visited many imaging facilities and shadowed numerous radiographers during my time at Carestream. Here are the time-saving features they tell me they value the most in their X-ray room equipment:
- Brake locks that are positioned in easy-to-reach places.
- Movement that is controlled by a single button rather than multiple ones.
- Tubehead controls that are similar to what is on the main display and give radiographers a secondary work zone.
- An Image Preview display on the tube head that lets the radiographer check the image without moving back to the main display and allows the radiographer to remain with the patient during the exam.
- Motorized movements, like auto tracking for fast source to detector alignment or motor assist, reduce fatigue for radiographers.
- Long Length Exposures for Spine and Standing exams
- Via Automated Multi- Exposure Long Length Imaging
- Or large detector array single exposure capture
- Preprogrammed tube and Bucky positions, like auto-positioning, related to specific procedures speed workflow and help reduce error.
- Rotating Buckys that give the ability to quickly position the detector into either landscape or portrait without having to remove the detector.
- Color-coded buttons on the tubehead handle that match colors on the overhead rails so technologists know instantly which button controls which movement.
- Tube tracking that automatically tracks the detector while in the Bucky, so a radiographer only needs to do fine positioning.
- Wallstands with motorization and tilting that help for easy patient positioning.
- Auto-Centering to optimize ease of use and speed workflow.
Of course, healthcare facilities are highly complex and very individualized. Your workflows and patient population might require additional automation features, like those in our DRX-Evolution Plus. For example, think about patients who are seriously ill or injured. They can’t easily move – or be moved – into the positions required for optimum imaging. The DRX-Evolution Plus has an automated table and moveable wall stand, one that is on rails, that provide flexibility for positioning without having to move the patient.
Additional automation features on the DRX-Evolution Plus are:
- Motorization for easier long length imaging exams
- Motor Assist functions to make manual movement easier
- 5-axis motion-control option where one console controls all the imaging functions
- Wireless remote control to expedite the imaging process
Regardless of your budget or patient population, having an intuitive design not only helps with cost savings; it gives your radiographers added confidence and job satisfaction. The less time a radiographer spends focusing on the system, the more time they have to focus on patients.
Leverage future advances in medical imaging
In addition to hardware, you need to consider the role of software when choosing your X-ray room equipment. Image processing software is evolving considerably through the application of advanced algorithms and AI. So your choice of X-ray room equipment also needs to support advanced software to take advantage of innovative imaging applications like Dual Energy and Digital Tomosynthesis.
The rapid advances in software can make expensive imaging equipment obsolete too quickly. This can force facilities that want to remain on the cutting edge to replace equipment on an all-too-frequent basis, incurring costs that few departments in this age of tightening budgets can afford.
Whatever your budget for your next X-ray room, avoid technology obsolescence by choosing technology that’s future-proof. In other words, select a room that’s designed to be scalable and able to grow along with your changing needs.
Carestream’s X-ray rooms are based on an exceptionally modular platform. They can meet your imaging needs wherever your facility is on the imaging continuum today. And they offer a bridge to the next level of X-ray technology and services when you are ready. This strategy can minimize worries about technology obsolescence, extend the life of your existing equipment, and enable you to leverage your current investments.
As you can see, there is much to consider when choosing an X-ray room for your facility. Boiling it all down, here are four basic guidelines:
Look for a room that will improve your workflow and efficiency, all while giving you the quickest return on investment. Be sure to include your radiographers when you evaluate X-ray room systems. They understand your clinical and ergonomic workflows better than anyone.
Consider features that can extend the usefulness of your room. For example, a wall stand will give you the capability to image patients on stretchers without moving the patients to a table.
Pick a room that will be able to leverage future capabilities – like automation, Artificial Intelligence or advanced applications. You don’t want to be locked out of future advances in imaging.
And always, focus on improving your clinical and ergonomic workflows. Advances and new features in imaging only matter if they can deliver substantial improvements in workflow efficiency and patient care.
Radiology Room Requirements by Winthrop University Hospital
Steve Romocki is Worldwide Product Line Manager for Radiology Systems at Carestream Health. He has more than 20 years of experience in developing medical imaging devices, from exposure & capture through image processing to delivery.