Four tips to keeping years off your CT scanner

by Carol Ko, Staff Writer | September 09, 2013
From the September 2013 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

With the average age of CT scanners in the U.S. approaching nine years, customers are making their priorities loud and clear: they’re looking to cut costs and remain conservative when it comes to buying capital equipment. DOTmed Business News gathered some tips from experts to see how end-users can keep extending the lives of their already long-lived CT machines and get the best deal when the only option is replacing them.

Much of the advice centered on basic preventative maintenance and cleanliness issues — all of which add up in the long run. “Try to maintain a clean operating environment — cleaner systems run better and last longer,” advises Michaelle Serrano, marketing manager of Oxford Instruments Service, LLC. Warming up and cooling down were also frequently cited as important steps to keep the machine running in tip-top shape. “Always allow the machine to cool before powering down,” says Todd King, president of KING Equipment Services, Inc. “Whenever possible, try to heat up the system and tube properly,” adds Florian Dickopp, director of Medicopex GmbH.

Customers should educate their staff on these preventative tips, too. “Include training for the technicians. A more informed user makes a big difference,” notes Bruce Hull, general manager of Network Imaging Systems.
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And when it comes to parts, users should be proactive to avoid further headaches, especially since parts are sometimes hard to come by and may take a while to ship. “Never wait until the system is out of order to replace a part,” says Gustavo Volpi, owner of DICOM IT. Sometimes, waiting to replace parts can actually harm the machine. “Exchange parts like brushes before they’re completely defective and have the potential to destroy the slipring,” says Dickopp.

When it comes to buying CT systems, experts advise users to leave their options open when signing service contracts, or at least think carefully before doing so. “Don’t sign the long-term service contracts in the event you buy a new system. This is where the OEMs make their money and they don’t offer financial rebates when they fail to meet uptime guarantees. Leave yourself options at the end of the warranty,” advises Lynn Williams, president of Advanced Imaging Management.

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