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With X-ray reimbursement on the line, four health systems move toward portable DR

by Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | November 20, 2017
Digital Radiography X-Ray
From the November 2017 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

The health system was also able to sell its CR readers to a used equipment vendor. That saved a significant amount of money since the service contracts for CR readers are very expensive, explains Sackrison.

Vidant Health also cut costs by opting for an insurance pool rather than purchasing coverage for each of its DR detectors. Instead of paying $5,000 annually for each detector, it paid $2,000 for an insurance pool that covers five breaks per year.

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“People get concerned about how expensive the coverage is on these detectors, so this helps to offset that,” says Sackrison.

UnityPoint Health--Meriter

UnityPoint Health – Meriter
UnityPoint Health – Meriter in Madison, Wisc., was formerly a stand-alone community hospital, but became affiliated with Iowa-based UnityPoint Health in 2014. As a result, the hospital had access to more funding for capital equipment.

In October 2016, Meriter purchased five Carestream DRX-Revolution portable X-ray systems for its emergency department, operating room, intensive care unit, newborn intensive care unit and other nursing units.

“I was looking forward to being a part of a larger hospital buying group because they always have more funds for capital equipment,” says Rose Knoll, manager for general diagnostic, fluoroscopy and mammography imaging at Meriter.

Over the past two years, the UnityPoint Health affiliation has allowed Meriter to purchase three new GE OEC C-arms and a new Luminos Agile Max fluoroscopy room from Siemens Healthineers.

Knoll reports that she’s impressed with the speed of DR compared to CR. When Meriter used CR cassettes, the technologists had to go to a reader and process the image, but with DR the images can be sent directly to the PACS.

“Most of the time, the surgeons are reviewing the images as soon as we take them to the operating room,” she says. “In the emergency room, the physicians can check the images immediately for tube or line placements instead of waiting for results from the radiologist.”

DR technology offers advantages for the radiologic technologists as well. For example, the Carestream DRX-Revolution systems have a tower that can go back inside of the unit so it doesn’t block the user’s view.

With CR cassettes, it would take technologists a while to complete their imaging rounds because they had to take them to the CR reader to review the images before continuing to image more patients. But that step is eliminated with portable DR since they can see the image immediately.

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