Osborn Scholarship Leads to Technology Innovation

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By Vicki Novick, BS, CNMT

November 2011–Our organization, a two hospital system, entered the digital world back in the fall of 2005. We did our due diligence and selected a CR vendor, and the devices we chose have served us well. The images are of good quality, but the increased radiation exposure using CR has always been a point of contention. We offer a hospital based radiologic technology program, and we have always been concerned with radiation exposure. It was great to move into the digital world, but we did so with reservations, knowing that the radiation exposure was increased almost two fold using CR. We tried to mitigate this with less repeats and paying attention to details so as to keep our exposure as low as possible. We tried to make sure that our staff was well educated about digital imaging. We made digital in-services mandatory, and our radiology program faculty members were instrumental in working with both the students and staff. The radiation dose was a concern that remained near and dear to our hearts.

While at the AHRA Annual Meeting in Dallas this summer, thanks to the Osborn Scholarship, I attended a very worthwhile session titled: The Smart Way to Transition Your X-ray to DR: Advances in Digital X-ray Detector Technologies. This session, sponsored by Fujifilm, introduced new advancements in DR detectors and their resulting benefits in image quality. My heart leaped when I heard that the new Fuji system was the equivalent of a 400-speed system. I couldn’t wait to continue my research after the session, as I was working on a new orthopedic office that would benefit from this technology.

The new doctor’s office claimed to have a patient volume of 50-70 patients per day. I couldn’t imagine how we could address these volumes using CR while still maintaining efficiency. I was excited to be able to explore the next level of technology. I had looked at tethered detectors but had my doubts about them. Wireless technology would be perfect for this situation.

I first went to the Fuji website to view additional information. I also searched YouTube and was amazed at how many vendors put videos online. This was another leap in technology that I hadn’t yet experienced. Lastly, I obtained a copy of the KLAS report and was pleased with the evaluation and summary that the Fuji FDR D-EVO flat panel detector received. I was convinced that this was the way to proceed and quickly placed my order.

My validation came after I slipped the program director a copy of the KLAS report for her evaluation. I emailed it to her and her reply was as follows:

“Thanks for forwarding the information re: wireless to me. I had a chance to review the material and had a few comments. It would be nice to know the actual ‘speed class’ of the system – higher speed class = less radiation dose. It indicates increased speed, but I did not read a mention of actual speed. Typically, film/screen was 400-speed and CR is 200 which is a double dose with CR. Some retros are 200, but I have read about some 400s coming aboard.  What a great feature and marketing tool that would be.”

I couldn’t wait to reply that the Fuji system was 400-speed. I told her I attended an excellent presentation at AHRA and I purchased this detector for the new orthopedic office.

Her response warmed my heart as it showed how we make a great team: “Awesome!!!  Can’t wait to see it… Way to go!!!”

Our new office just opened in October, and the experience has been more challenging than I had imagined. I found out during the later stages of the process that this office had a 35 year old x-ray unit and a processor in the same room. They actually turned out the lights to run the films when they ran out of cassettes! There are two technologists who work in tandem and x-ray 60-70 patients per clinic day. As 40 year veterans, they are astounded by this leap in technology. The office was entirely pencil and paper, but the orthopedic surgeon has now learned how to navigate in our PACS, HIS, and RIS systems. It took some extra patience in training, but everyone is pleased with the image quality and efficiency gained. Administration has commended our team for a job well done. There isn’t any better feeling than a successfully completed project!

Vicki Novick, BS, CNMT, is the radiology administrative director at East Ohio Regional Hospital in Martins Ferry, OH. She can be reached at vnovick@ovrh.org

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