5 Strategies to Maximize the Return on Your Radiology Equipment
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How to leverage your image capture devices for improved image quality and productivity.
Maximizing the return on your existing radiology equipment has always been a priority. It is even more critical today if your funds for purchasing new equipment were diverted to COVID-related expenses. In this blog, I’ll provide 5 strategies to get the maximum return on your investment in your existing X-ray equipment. Many of them will help your radiology team improve productivity – thereby increasing throughput and revenue.
Strategy 1: Leverage existing features.
In my interactions with customers, I often find that departments overlook some time-saving features that help make image capture more efficient. I recommend that you do a review to see if your radiographers are making use of these time-saving features that are commonly overlooked:
- Modality Performed Procedure Step. This optional software feature automatically sends a message to the RIS to complete the study when the acquired images have been accepted. The automated behind-the-scenes workflow saves the radiographer from needing to manually complete the study from their RIS application.
- Automated Workflow with EVP Plus Software. EVP Plus automatically processes and delivers diagnostic-quality DR and CR images to the PACS, based on look preferences that can be uniquely specified by each site.
- Single-screen Workflow for Fewer Screen Transitions. With ImageView software from Carestream, the most commonly-used operations are a single button press away, without the need to toggle back and forth between multiple screens
- Custom Configuration and Automated Controls. Use the configurability, and view and workflow settings available in your imaging system to expedite exams. Doing so can nearly automate the exam process while providing repeatable results.
- QA Operating Mode. This QA-by-study approach can potentially provide a workflow improvement at facilities with a high volume of imaging studies.
Modality software is always evolving. Make sure your imaging software stays current with new releases so you can take advantage of new features to enhance automation and efficiency in the workflow.
Strategy 2: Schedule applications training.
It is likely that there are other features on your existing X-ray equipment that can contribute to increased productivity that are not being used. The most effective path for your radiographers to use your equipment’s capabilities to its fullest is through application training on your Carestream medical imaging equipment. Our Applications Consultants educate your radiographers on the full array of tools available to make their workflow as efficient as possible; and their diagnostic images of the highest quality possible. Our experienced consultants also provide training on available adjustments in technique and exposure for image processing.
Strategy 3: Analyze workflow.
Radiology administrators can get a better understanding of workflow patterns – and areas for improvement – with Carestream’s Administrative Analysis and Reporting Software. The software provides a “digital dashboard” – a centralized information-management tool for continuous performance feedback, allowing you to analyze results and develop improvement plans. This robust software option allows you to monitor workflow patterns and trends in your radiology department by measuring performance stats of CR and DR units across your entire enterprise. For example, equipment utilization, reject rates and operator technique can be monitored and compared across your entire installed Carestream digital capture equipment. Information can be formatted as desired and viewed on any authorized PC – making it quick and easy for you to identify over- and under-utilized stations, productivity of individual technologists, image rejection rates at each station, and more.
Strategy 4: Leverage new AI-based software.
AI-powered features that automate steps in workflow offer considerable time savings. It is well known that correct positioning and accurate settings of X-ray equipment are essential to capturing an image that will meet diagnostic requirements. However, executing these steps require precision and time, and even the most skilled radiographers sometimes fail to obtain clinically viable results. (1) For example, the radiographer might use improper positioning or incorrect exposure parameter settings, resulting in an image that fails to meet diagnostic requirements.
To help provide more consistent outcomes, Carestream is applying Artificial Intelligence (AI) to optimize workflow in medical imaging. Our AI-based Smart DR Workflow supports radiographers by reducing their workload and optimizing workflow, while improving image quality and consistency. The three fundamentals of Smart DR Workflow are:
- Smart Positioning
- Smart Technique
- and Smart Collimation
Our new AI-based Smart Features help the radiographer acquire images in a consistent manner from patient to patient, enabling more consistent presentation and image quality, and reducing retakes – another step to help maximize the ROI on your radiology equipment.
Strategy 5: Properly maintain your equipment.
Productivity features are of no use if your equipment is down. Proper care and maintenance of your X-ray equipment will help protect your financial investment and help you achieve optimal performance with your equipment. Following are 6 recommendations from our experienced field engineers to help maximize the ROI of your imaging equipment and keep it in optimal operation.
- Perform regular preventive maintenance.
- Use and manipulate equipment properly.
- Don’t overlook component care.
- Operate equipment within its technical specifications.
- Provide the optimum environment for your X-ray equipment.
- Use only approved cleaners and disinfectants on equipment exterior.
I hope you will find these five strategies useful for leveraging your image capture devices for higher image quality, productivity and speed – which will in turn maximize the return on your investment in your radiology equipment.
Ron Muscosky is a Product Line Manager at Carestream Health. He has more than 30 years of experience in healthcare/medical imaging.
- Guidelines for Choosing X-ray Room Equipment
- Getting the Most Out of Applications Training
- Increasing Productivity in the Radiology Department
- AI Features in Radiology to Adopt Today
- X-ray Equipment Care and Maintenance
- Sajjad Rastegarm, Jalal Beigi, Ehsan Saeidi, Reject Analysis in Digital Radiology: A Local Study on Radiographers and Students’ Attitude in Iran, Med J Islam Repub Iranv 33, 2019PMC6706103