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Radiography job market remains tight, while digital path continues

by Lisa Chamoff, Contributing Reporter | November 30, 2014
Molecular Imaging Pediatrics
From the November 2014 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Agfa’s Curley says the company’s MUSICA image processing software allows technicians to lower the dose and get better image quality, something that hospitals and imaging centers are touting in marketing messages in an effort to stay competitive. The overarching message from the facility is, ‘We’ve got our eye on this,’ ” Curley says.

Lancaster, of Presence Saint Joseph, says new technologists pull up what the techniques are in order to optimize the image for different types of exams, instead of using too much radiation as they might in a CR room. DR technology also makes it possible to track the lifetime monitoring of dose, which is especially important in pediatrics. “Information on dose is much more readily available and is available to the patient,”Philips’ Kornweibel says. “That’s not really available on an analog system.

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Hospitals need to show they have these programs in place that prevent too high of a dose used on a patient.” Image processing software has also advanced. Viztek recently introduced its new Ultra DR software at this year’s AHRA conference. By the time RSNA’s conference takes place, the company plans to have a message on its software, at the request of a client, reminding technologists to check if they have lead markers in the field. “It’s really not about [the] panel anymore, it’s about a software that can manage systems,” says Bruce Ashby, general manager of Viztek. “How do manage workflow to reduce dose.”

Fluoroscopy maintains its intensity
New fluoroscopy products are also heading to the market. In April, Shimadzu received FDA clearance to market the Sonialvision G4, a digital R/F table system for a wide variety of examinations, including angiography, endoscopy, video fluoroscopy, orthopedic exams, and general radiography. One of its touted features is a table that can support a patient weighing up to 700 pounds.

Marketing manager Frank Serrao says adjustable gastric banding surgery, or the Lap Band, has to be done with fluoroscopy and many hospitals don’t have the right facilities to be able to treat morbidly obese patients. The Sonialvision G4, which has been recognized by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, provides many other tools, along with the ability to remain competitive in the bariatric surgery arena. “Now we’re starting to try to give the customer more value in what they’re buying,” Serrao says.

Fluoroscopy has become a much more “stable” market, says Philips’ Kornweibel and hospitals have been trying to make their fluoroscopy rooms more productive as the overall number of those procedures remains stable or is declining. Adding DR technology can help make the room work more efficiently. “They can use it for fluoroscopy in the morning and as a DR overflow room in the afternoon,” Kornweibel says.

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