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What about the balloons?

by Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | September 17, 2012
From the September 2012 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Since this is a publication for medical professionals, this title might have you thinking about angioplasty. But really, I'm talking about the balloons that kids like. As we've reported over the years, concern about a major helium shortage continues. Now, however, the government is taking some long-called-for action (see article on page 57). Still, many industry experts doubt it'll be enough to stave off the long-awaited dry up of liquid helium supplies.

It may be time to learn a lesson or two from another resource we've been overusing for decades (or at least learn what not to do). The oil industry continues to push for access to new areas to tap and new methods to extract their commodity. However, it should be obvious by now that it's a short-term solution. Eventually, oil will run out. So in the long-term, we're still out of oil, but we also have some ecological disasters paired with the depletion. Big oil has been dragging its feet about new technologies or options for far too long. Fortunately, medical equipment manufacturers have been a bit better with helium usage. Factories have efficient recapturing techniques for helium as MRIs are being built and those same MRIs are more efficient in their usage of helium. Still, with some of the amazing technology and innovations in the field, it seems time to look to helium alternatives. Let's save some helium for balloons - which also require oil in their manufacturing process.

In the meantime, in order to help you save your helium, or at the very least, your time and money, we've introduced a new section in this month's magazine. On page 50, you'll see our regular selection of tips from the experts, but you'll also find some questions and answers posed in our DOTmed Service Technician forums. If you have an equipment problem and you don't see your question there, visit the site and ask on the forum to get some feedback.

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