All-In-One CR System
Take Two
A New Home for the Holidays
Small Footprint Makes Big Difference!

All-In-One CR System

With the continuing advances in computed radiography (CR), more and more hospitals and large, multispecialty clinics have rushed to adopt the technology. Yet many physician practices and clinics have not yet transitioned to digital x-ray. The idiosyncrasies of CR technology, along with the learning curve, can hinder consistent quality in image capture, dissuading many from snapping up the new tools.

The ImagePilot CR System from Konica Minolta uses a built-in intelligence called “AutoPilot.”

A new advance from Konica Minolta aims to eliminate inconsistencies in image capture and enhance the power of CR. The ImagePilot CR System uses a built-in intelligence called “AutoPilot,” a patented technique that optimizes image quality while removing the need to define and select image processing parameters for each body part and orientation. As a result, users can consistently create high-quality images.

The typical CR system today requires six steps to obtain an image, the most complicated of which is selecting the examination view and correct anatomy focus, and confirming this view for correct processing. Errors in setup can result in unreadable, inaccessible images.

The AutoPilot cuts down the steps needed for imaging, requiring only patient registration, cassette insertion, and exam review. Using a universal algorithm that hones in on bone, the densest material in most anatomical views, the AutoPilot automatically recognizes the appropriate examination view, optimizes the image, and creates consistent, diagnostic-quality images. AutoPilot image processing also remembers the user preferences for specific anatomical views and applies these adjustments automatically for future exposures.

With this technology behind it, the ImagePilot is billed as an all-in-one solution for clinics and physician group practices, covering image capture, image review, and image storage/distribution. As such, physicians and practices are finding confidence in purchasing the systems, and discovering surprising benefits in having the process available.

“Primary care doctors in general and pediatricians in particular are reluctant to take on x-ray, and so tend to send it out to other centers,” said Stephen Kanarak, MD, FAAR, Pediatric Healthcare Associates, Peabody, Mass. “By having the ImagePilot and the high-quality digital x-rays that result, we’re able to enhance professional and patient quality of life. Clinicians are able to tackle a greater array of diagnostic problems and handle them right here in our office. Patients have confidence that we’re able to provide all services, so they can bring their child after a fall here rather than the emergency room. For both of these aspects, we have found it enormously helpful.”

Since the AutoPilot opens up reliable and accurate imaging to more clinicians, Konica Minolta believes the ImagePilot can especially help in rural and remote settings.

“AutoPilot revolutionizes CR image acquisition by completely automating the process so that virtually anyone can generate consistently superb images with every exposure,” said Steve Eisner, marketing manager, Konica Minolta. “The value of AutoPilot is apparent in centers that don’t have a dedicated radiology staff, such as remote clinics in rural settings, or where technologists are multitasking. These sites still need to generate diagnostic quality x-rays on patients upon demand.”

—Amy Lillard

Take Two

Broken cassettes and jammed imaging plates pushed MCG Health Inc, Augusta, Ga, to go digital, supplementing the computed radiography unit already in place.

Looking to improve patient care further in its bustling Ambulatory Care Center, the not-for-profit corporation recently ordered its second digital radiography system from Carestream Health Inc, Rochester, NY.

After previously installing a KODAK DIRECTVIEW DR 9000 in its emergency department, the center turned to Carestream once again, this time for a dual-detector KODAK DIRECTVIEW DR 7500 System that includes both a wall stand and a table.

Instant image capture is one of the benefits that greatly appealed to David Berry, MS, RT, director of imaging services. In a digital world, patient wait times substantially improve; what used to take 15 minutes now takes only 5 minutes, Berry said. “You spend more time going in and out of the room than you do for the image acquisition, which is instantaneous,” he continued.

Berry said the DR 7500 model was chosen for the flexibility and productivity offered by its wall stand, complete with an extending tilt and swing Bucky, as well as the unit’s fixed elevating table. The solution accommodates the integration of images captured with CR cassettes, Berry continued, adding that reliable service and support from Carestream also governed the purchase.

“The benefits of digital imaging solutions over radiographic film are well proven and include more responsive care for patients, higher staff productivity, and the enhanced efficiency of digital image storage, distribution, and archiving,” he said.

MCG Health manages the clinical enterprise of the Medical College of Georgia, and operates the 478-bed MCGHealth Medical Center, 154-bed MCGHealth Children’s Medical Center, the Georgia Radiation Therapy Center, and related outpatient facilities and services throughout the state.

Berry said about 160,000 imaging procedures from a range of modalities are performed per year, with 97,000 representing diagnostic imaging.

The health system houses a number of CR systems from Carestream Health in its radiology department, emergency department, operating suites, Children’s Medical Center, and general fluoroscopy rooms.

—Elaine Sanchez

A New Home for the Holidays

Joseph Cline, administrative director of imaging services at John T. Mather Memorial Hospital, Port Jefferson, NY, admitted he was a bit incredulous when the hospital’s CEO gave him the go-ahead to explore a replacement for an aging analog x-ray room. For years, he had tried to upgrade from the 18-year-old, end-of-life system, but the project was placed on the back burner in favor of a new CT scanner or other needed equipment.

The Ysio from Siemens offers more than 500 different preset examination positions.

Nevertheless, the imaging department could not ignore a tempting offer from Siemens Healthcare, which wrote letters to their customers about an online auction for a new digital radiography room. Bidding would start at $99,000 for the state-of-the-art Ysio, whose list price is $450,000.

The system had been donated to the Children’s Health Fund (CHF), a national organization dedicated to providing health care for homeless and medically disadvantaged children. Placing the product up for auction, CHF allowed hospitals to bid online anonymously for the new DR system.

The auction lasted for 10 days, starting on December 8. Cline placed the first bid at $99,000, and nothing happened for a few days. Then, other authorized users began to bid, each one 10% higher than the previous. Fifteen minutes before bidding ended, John T. Mather Hospital was outbid. Because the hospital was still under its self-imposed maximum, it put in another bid, at $285,309. The hospital came out on top.

Cline said he recently spoke with a Siemens account representative, who commented that the company would never have been able to sell the unit for that price, even with discounts and coupons. “The fact that you hung in to the end, you got a bargain,” the representative told Cline.

“We’ll have some expense with the renovation, but that will be nominal compared to what we saved,” Cline said, adding that the new room will be located on the site of the old analog room. “It was definitely a good deal.”

According to Siemens, the Ysio is a versatile solution, serving the spectrum of imaging volumes, protocols, or patient profiles. Its ergonomic table design can handle a range of body shapes and sizes, boasting a 660-pound weight capacity and a low table height of 21 inches for wheelchair accessibility. Furthermore, its performance features are geared toward short examination times, allowing for improved daily patient throughput. Users can control their workflow from registration to image data management.

Ysio offers more than 500 different preset examination positions, and the x-ray tube can be moved into position by simply pressing a button on the wireless remote. It also can be configured to bypass room fixtures during its automated travel to the imaging position.

Handling like a cassette, the wireless detector (wi-D) can be removed from the table and placed directly underneath or next to the patient. Images can be previewed in as little as 5 seconds without the need to change or process cassettes.

“The staff always likes new things,” Cline said regarding the system’s benefits. “This being digital, it will go right to our PACS archive. There will be no handling of plates. You put the patient over the receptor, and the image will be there in seconds. It will be far more efficient, and it’ll be new equipment. That’s the best thing—we won’t have the old thing there anymore.”

Siemens anticipates a July installation of the Ysio at the hospital, which performs about 125,000 imaging exams a year.

“Siemens’ innovations contribute to the health and well-being of people throughout the world, while improving operational efficiencies and optimizing workflow in hospitals, clinics, home health agencies, and doctors’ offices,” said Claus Grill, vice president, Angiography, Cardiac, and X-ray Systems, Siemens Healthcare. “We are honored to donate the Ysio system to Children’s Health Fund, and partner with them to better equip their hospitals and doctors with the latest technologies for optimal patient care.”

All proceeds from the event benefited CHF, which provides health care to the nation’s underserved children and their families through the development and support of medical programs. Founded in 1987, the organization partners with major academic medical centers to deliver health care to disadvantaged families through mobile medical units, in both rural and urban areas across the country.

Irwin Redlener, CHF president and cofounder, pointed to the nation’s “unprecedented fiscal crisis” as creating difficulties for disadvantaged children and families.

“The situation is having a profound impact because as the rate of homelessness for children and families reaches its highest point in many years, the number of children living in poverty has grown to 13.3 million,” Redlener said. “Now budget cuts are causing community-based health programs and other services for poor children and families to cut back and even shut down.”

—E. Sanchez

Small Footprint Makes Big Difference!

When the Journal Center Radiology facility of Albuquerque Health Partners decided to replace their analog imaging systems and go digital, they had some specific needs that could have given some companies pause.

The Q-Rad Digital System is known for easy patient positioning and precise imaging control.

“We are a very busy small department with huge orthopedic volume,” said Nancy Kettenacker, radiology manager at Journal Center Radiology in Albuquerque, NM. “We needed a system that could fit within our practice, and be installed in our small rooms in a way that didn’t require new room set-ups or procedures. Quantum Medical Imaging heard what I said, looked at our rooms, and gave us options. Our new Q-Rad Digital System is the result that works for us.”

The resulting Q-Rad Digital System installed at Journal Center Radiology allows more flexibility and imaging capabilities for staff and patients. Small room size doesn’t detract from the imaging process and results, ultimately enhancing patient care. Plus, the center discovered other striking day-to-day benefits.

“The system has enhanced our workflow operations immensely,” Kettenacker said. “We’re able to image our patients in half the time compared to our old analog system. The system allows for great ease in positioning and movement, and the images come up within 30 seconds. My staff is very happy with the new system.”

The Journal Center’s Q-Rad Digital System is made up of a Ceiling Mounted Tomography system as well as a separate Digital Single Shared CXDI-50G Panel Floor Mounted System. The ceiling mount (featuring a CXDI-40EG and CXDI-50G Dual Panel system) is unique for its five-tiered telescoping column, developed specifically for the center’s high ceilings and small rooms, and incorporating expansive overhead horizontal and transverse travel. The tomo tube support positioning is controlled through fingertip switches, allowing the technologist to maneuver the tube for easy patient positioning. The tomography sweep motion is an electronic motorized design for precise imaging control, without any mechanical coupling by the operator.

Selecting Quantum Medical Imaging was a matter of finding a company that could work with the Journal Center’s specific requirements, as well as ensuring satisfaction among colleagues.

“We did due diligence with our research, conducting a number of site visits and requesting detailed information from the vendors,” Kettenacker said. “We talked to staff working with the Quantum system, and found other managers happy with the equipment, the salesmanship, and the price. It was a thorough process.”

The Journal Center of Radiology is part of Albuquerque Health Partners, formally Lovelace Medical Group, the largest independent medical group in New Mexico working with various medical facilities and specialty medical providers.

—A. Lillard