by Lisa Chamoff
, Contributing Reporter | October 22, 2014
From the September 2014 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
Late last year, the Joint Commission also announced new standards for accredited hospitals, critical access hospitals and ambulatory health care organizations that provide diagnostic imaging services, including documentation of CT radiation dose in the patient’s clinical record. While the changes were originally supposed to take effect July1, 2014 with additional changes phased in by 2015, the revised standards will now be implemented by July 2015.
Impact on legacy equipment
Facilities with older equipment need to make some decisions, though that doesn’t necessarily mean spending millions on new machines.
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One such solution comes from Medic Vision, a company that provides software for medical image enhancement that improves image quality from lower-dose CT scans. The software, SafeCT, is currently being used by several leading medical centers, including Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.
“SafeCT will clean the noisy low-dose images and will send them to PACS for reading,” says Eyal Aharon, the chief executive officer. “So when radiologists read those images, in most cases they were acquired at half the dose.”
Aharon says the company has received a lot of inquiries, especially from states like California and Texas that have instituted dose reporting requirements.
“People are more and more aware that they need to take care of it,” Aharon says. “Three years ago, when I had meetings with potential customers, I had to explain why they needed to pay attention to radiation dose. Now I don’t have to explain.”
Fisher says that facilities should be looking at dose reduction beyond just the regulations.
“It’s not just about if are you compliant with the standard,” Fisher says. “There are lots of features that new equipment has and tremendous advances in dose reduction over the last decade. It’s really important for the customer to understand that it’s not just about the dollars. There are other important factors that go into that decision.”
Still, the smaller companies provide cost-effective solutions to facilities that aren’t yet in the market for new equipment.
“As a small company, one of the things that I would be happy to see (is that) people are aware that they don’t have to go to the CT vendor for a solution,” Aharon says.
“There are other solutions out there that are doing the same thing for less than half the price of the GE and Siemens of the world.” Ken Denison, GE’s global marketing director for CT products, says the company has updated about 70 percent of its installed base at no charge, though that still leaves some older scanners.