Radiologic technologists from Penn State Hershey Medical Center found a safer way to x-ray patients faster, without having to worry about the time it takes the airborne virus to be cleared from the enclosed room: Let the patient stay outside. While the x-ray equipment remains inside, the patients walk up to a plexiglass panel set into a former unused doorway to be imaged, according to a report in LebTown.

“The big problem we now have when an x-ray machine is inside a room,” says Timothy J. Mosher, MD, chair of Penn State Hershey Medical Center’s Department of Radiology, “is that the mode of transmission [of the coronavirus] is the aerosolized particles that are in the air.”

“So you have to wait about 90 minutes for these particles to get exchanged by the building’s ventilation system,” Mosher said. “It really slows down your ability to effectively image a large number of patients.”

Faced with the challenge of how to give lots of chest x-rays quickly and safely to suspected COVID-19 patients, HMC medical, technological, and facilities employees put their heads together to solve the problem.

“We were looking at some interior rooms, but they were going to require major renovations,” Mosher says. “Then we thought about sort of a boardwalk photo booth, where a patient would just stand inside a small box where we’d be able to change the air really quickly.”

“And then,” says Mosher, “somebody said ‘Why don’t we just shoot through a window?’

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Featured image: Katarina Kunkel, a radiologic technologist with Penn State Hershey Medical Center, sets up the portable x-ray machine in the rear of 35 Hope Drive. Credit HMC photo.