Special report: The changing world of radiation shielding

by Nancy Ryerson, Staff Writer | September 20, 2013
From the September 2013 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Speed is also a factor in sliding doors’ growing popularity. It doesn’t take long to open a door, of course, but in a high pressure operating room every second counts. Some facilities are choosing sliding doors for their speed. Veritas Medical Solutions promotes its sliding doors by noting that they open/close in five to six seconds.

Sliding doors can also work better in more complicated room setups. Joel Kellogg at ETS-Lindgren says he’s gotten requests for sliding shielded doors in inter-operative suites.

“In an operating room, there are a lot of concerns over sterility, you have to integrate the suite together to prevent other doors from being open,” says Kellogg. “So you’re getting these large, complex control systems that are being integrated into these suites.”

LeBlanc of Nelco says another reason facilities are investing in biparting doors is for their more elegant appearance compared with traditional doors.

“The days of the white, sterile look of a hospital are largely over,” says LeBlanc. “Now it’s geared more towards the hospitality industry. You go in some of them and it’s more like a five-star spa.”

Still, sliding doors remain less popular than traditional doors. Veritas says while it has seen an increase in requests for both bi-parting and single-leaf sliding doors, swing-style entry doors remain the company’s top seller.

New tricks and more questions
The CT scanner industry has been focused on dose reduction for several years now, and many facilities have reported successful dose reduction programs. With the emphasis on reduced dose, facilities looking to build a new room may wonder if the same amount of shielding that was used in the past is still necessary today.

Shielding companies disagree on whether dose reduction should have an impact on shielding decisions.

“Generally, if the CT scanner is delivering less dose to the patient then slightly less shielding would be needed,” says Bill Luecke, director of business development at Veritas.

At the same time, the scanners are still capable of producing high dose, as dose reduction is a software update rather than a technical one.

“Even if we’re going to do 99 percent of our scans as low dose, we need to plan the shielding for high dose,” says Gilk. “Lower dose CT clinically is tremendously important, but from a siding and shield design standpoint, it doesn’t have that much impact.”

While using less shielding for CT rooms may not be necessary, Kyle Jones, assistant professor of imaging physics at MD Anderson Cancer Center, and his team have developed a new way of calculating shielding needs for PET facilities that could help save on shielding costs.

You Must Be Logged In To Post A Comment