ED: New Technologies and programs for the changing health care environment

by Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | December 11, 2014
Emergency Medicine
Siemens Healthcare's SOMATOM Definition Edge
From the December 2014 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

In this new era of health care reform, hospitals are under pressure to cut costs and at the same time, improve patient outcomes. Manufacturers are working hard to design equipment and develop programs to cater to these new demands. The diagnostic imaging equipment both inside emergency vehicles and within the emergency department now allows for faster and more accurate diagnoses. Programs that leverage telemedicine and streamline physician communication are helping hospitals increase their efficiency and save money.

Ultrasound to the rescue
In early July, paramedics at Dallas/Fort Worth Fire Services in Texas had a patient in their emergency vehicle with an undetectable pulse, yet there was a rhythm on the monitor. The rhythm wasn’t enough to determine whether the patient’s heart was still contracting, so the team used their Samsung PT60A tablet-based ultrasound and were able to get confirmation. Once they got confirmation, they made every effort to try to resuscitate the patient.

“This is all to preserve the golden hour—give the patient definitive care from the time we make contact with them,” said Dr. Roy Yamada, EMS medical director. In the past, before the paramedics had the ultrasound, they had to call Yamada to ask whether they should start or stop resuscitation efforts. With the upgrade though, the team can also wirelessly transmit the ultrasound images through Trice Imaging’s mobile encryption and image management system to the receiving hospital in real-time so that hospital staff can better prepare for the patient’s arrival.

Samsung is currently conducting a trial to investigate this new technology and the full results will be released next year. So far, the ultrasound has been deployed in 91 callouts to diagnose trauma, internal bleeding, acute abdominal pain and cardiac arrest cases in the Dallas and Fort Worth metropolitan areas.

But for now, ultrasounds inside of the ED are still the most common way to diagnose patients. At the RSNA conference two years ago, Siemens Healthcare unveiled ACUSON Freestyle, the first-ever ultrasound with wireless transducers.

It‘s useful when a physician in the ED wants to perform a quick procedure, explained Jeffrey Bundy, CEO of Siemens Healthcare Ultrasound. Since there aren’t any cables, the physician doesn’t have to reposition that ultrasound to get better access to the patient.

Last month, Siemens released the 3.5 version of Freestyle that features improved needle visualization and a new user interface with a larger clinical image display. They also created a new mobile link application that connects the system to a Microsoft Windows tablet on a shared wireless network.

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