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Making upgrades to your existing rad/fluoro rooms may be the key to keeping costs down and creating more value

by Sean Ruck , Contributing Editor
From the June 2018 issue of DOTmed HealthCare Business News magazine

While GE systems aren’t the only aging R/F rooms on the market, Jachode said that much like the approach hospitals should take to compare cost to value, their company studied the market to determine where to best place their resources for the initial upgrade offerings and found that GE had a large install base. He detailed their findings. “There’s roughly 2,000 fluoroscopy rooms in the U.S. that still use a camera tube. Camera tubes have not been manufactured for two years. Every one of those rooms is suffering some sort of image degradation which results in higher patient dose. Every one of them needs to be updated, replaced or decommissioned, probably within the next two years,” Jachode said. “You have another 1,500 systems that are operating Windows 98, running on old Pentium processors. So you have 3,500 systems in the U.S. that need an upgrade or a replacement.”

West and George mention one more wrinkle particular to West Coast hospitals when it comes to considering upgrade or replacement. “In Washington, Oregon and California, if you unbolt a system from the floor to replace it, you have to go through regulation requirements to get the new install, but existing machines getting upgrades are grandfathered,” West said.
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“The regulatory environment in order to meet the new earthquake standards are expensive. In some cases, it’s not possible for a facility to build a new R/F room to meet the standards. There are a lot of cases where the economics won’t allow for replacement,” said Jachode.

As for indicators for when facilities should look to replace their r/f, West said resolution loss can be obvious. “Smearing in the image. Blurring of the image. They probably won’t notice, but the dose does increase as the tube starts failing,” he said.

Upgraded systems, at least in this case, are able to do much of the same work that new systems can do. They have the ability to use and send DICOM worklists and stay HIPAA compliant. The procedure for users is essentially the same as well.

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