We like to hear from you

August 01, 2013
by Loren Bonner, DOTmed News Online Editor
Instead of a traditional letter, I'm going to flip things around and put the spotlight on you this month. We received an overwhelming amount of comments about an online story we wrote involving a tragic accident. In early June, a patient at the VA Medical Center in the Bronx, New York died when the apparatus on a 7-year-old GE gamma camera apparently collapsed and crushed him (page 12). GE Healthcare has since made the decision to recall all its gamma camera systems, and has notified facilities that a GE technician will inspect each system "to verify that that the support mechanism fasteners are secured properly," according to a spokesperson.

Even though the investigation is still ongoing, many of you wrote in with your take on what caused the accident. Many warned that this was just the beginning of more accidents to come because of older equipment. One responder attributed it to the financial stress many health systems are under and the option to go with third party service contracts, which offer less expensive maintenance for the equipment and can extend equipment beyond what was possible before. Others defended the efforts of the hospital's biomedical department to put patient safety first.

All I can say is that we can only hope lessons are learned from accidents like this so that future ones can be prevented.

On the following page, I've included some of your comments on the gamma camera accident, as well as a response to a piece we wrote having to do with an OEM and a hospital working together on a new way to deliver care (page 10). As you'll read, Philips and Georgia Regents Medical Center, a public academic health system in Georgia, are partnering on a rather ambitious project. Philips will provide Georgia Regents with a comprehensive range of advanced medical technologies and imaging equipment, planning and maintenance services, and consumer products with pre-determined monthly operational costs over a 15-year period. The alliance is said to impact all areas of the medical system, including radiology and may allow Georgia Regents to accelerate a lot of replacements and upgrades that they wouldn't have been able to make on their own.

As Steve Laczynski put it: "This goes beyond buying and selling; this is about running a whole system, not just a single department."

You'll see more news like this as we continue to bring to light important stories about health care reform, especially leading up to full implementation of the law in 2014. We appreciate your feedback. Keep those comments coming!