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Low-tech equipment and no-tech problems

by Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | April 28, 2011
From the April 2011 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

“In a hospital’s tech toolbox [contrast injectors] are on the low end,” says Steve Maull, owner of Maull Biomedical training. “They’re just pumps — they’re hooked up to advanced equipment, but they themselves are pretty simple. All the contrast injectors are simple. They do the same thing, the same way, maybe with different bells and whistles. The biggest changes and upgrades for them in the future will be to transfer information from them to imaging systems, PACS or EMR.”

[Read the Injectors & Contrast Agents Industry Sector Report]

Although injectors are low-tech in comparison to the typical arsenal of cutting-edge technology found in many hospitals today, they still are susceptible to one of the biggest problems plaguing even the most advanced equipment . . . human error. “Contrast spills are the number one problem, “says Chuck Marshall, president and owner of Florida Service Plus. “We’ll get calls from hospitals complaining of error messages and before we get out there, we’ll be called and told everything is working again. That’s because contrast is conductive when it’s wet, but once it dries, the problem disappears, at least temporarily.”

It’s not just contrast spills causing consternation. Marshall has encountered another low-tech problem he was able to solve with a few twists of the wrist. “I’ve had service calls where the customer told me they had a problem with the mobility of the machine. When I arrived on site, I saw the cable running to the head was so twisted up that they couldn’t move the injector head. It’s also an interesting conversation on an install when I take out the machine and I’m told it’s not the one they had ordered, because the one in the brochure didn’t show cables. That’s just some tricky marketing from manufacturers, how the cables (or lack of cables) are presented.

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