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Keeping SPECT spectacular

by Diana Bradley, Staff Writer | July 02, 2012
From the June 2012 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

[This article originally appeared in the June issue of DOTmed Business News.]

SPECT equipment is expensive, as are service contracts. Refurbished equipment can make sense for end users looking to save some dough, but what is the best way to make that equipment last? As with anything else, there are tricks of the trade, and tried and true ways of getting the most life out of refurbished gamma cameras or SPECT equipment.

According to Don Bogutski, president of Diagnostix Plus Inc., a supplier of new and refurbished nuclear medicine equipment and services, the wisest move an end user can make is to develop a strong and lasting partnership with the engineers that service their SPECT equipment.

“Field service engineers will educate end users on how to do things that will keep that equipment working much longer and with fewer problems,” he explains.

Like other medical devices, a variety of issues can spring up with SPECT equipment, so “timely and complete” preventive maintenance is an obvious, but often overlooked solution and has a noticeable impact on the reliability and quality of an end user’s system, according to BC Technical’s COO, William Biddle.

“Make sure you have regular maintenance on your equipment; you should have it PM’d and serviced every six months,” recommends Grant Norris, account representative at Associated Imaging Services. “At the very least, have a PM contract. One step further is the full service contract, under which systems seem to last longer and be in much better shape. One of the main reasons for this is because whenever there is an issue, small or large, the customer can call right away for the repair.”

Any SPECT camera model is going to have part failures. Two common issues are corrupted software and failed hard drives, says Biddle. To address the issue quickly, he suggests keeping track of all the original software material that came with the camera.

“When it comes to corrupted software or failed hard drives, ensure that your service provider has a clear understanding of the intellectual property laws associated with these types of service repairs,” he says.

Surprisingly, most of MEDX’s service calls don’t start with a part failure, but are instead the direct result of the failure to do a daily quality check at the start of each day. “The daily QC would indicate the small problems that can be solved before they become big ones, and keep unnecessary dosing of patients from occurring,” says MEDX’s VP of Service, Gene Zschernitz. “Lack of proper training on how to run the camera is another issue. When techs don’t receive proper training, service calls due to improper start up and shut down of the camera, collimator collision errors and the like skyrocket.”

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