From the October 2018 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
By Mellisa Wheeler, BSW, MHA
When the first mobile stroke unit dispatched in Houston four years ago, it motivated a wave of hospitals adopting the technology for their own facilities.
At Atrium Health’s Levine Cancer Institute (LCI) in Charlotte, North Carolina, we were inspired to establish a different kind of mobile unit – one that could address rural North and South Carolina’s deadly combination of high smoking rates and lack of access to lung cancer screenings.
It was a tall order that required a CT scanner with mobile capabilities. Moreover, the scanner needed to have low-dose screening capabilities in order to adhere to the American College of Radiology’s guidelines set forth in 2011 to establish low-dose lung screenings as the standard of care. Our team moved forward and proposed the idea to the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, which provided a grant to make the dream of a mobile lung unit and comprehensive screening program come true.
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Since its launch in April 2017, LCI’s mobile lung unit has provided care to many people who might not otherwise have had access. Additionally, the lung screenings have located incidental findings outside of the lungs. Our team has been able to refer these affected patients to other LCI programs for care options.
Covering New Ground
In selecting a scanner, our team considered several factors that were crucial to ensuring the mobile lung unit’s functionality, such as low-dose lung scanning, durability to withstand transit, and its safety in providing patient screenings. Ultimately, the 32-slice mobile CT scanner BodyTom by Samsung NeuroLogica fulfilled all of our requirements.
The system’s resistance to being affected by its environment ensured that the device would deliver high-quality images despite high temperatures, humidity, or the rough road conditions faced on the journeys into rural areas. In our extensive research of CT scanners for the unit, Samsung NeuroLogica’s commitment to understanding mobile technology was evident from their experience introducing Mobile Stroke Units to the world. We knew that we were selecting a partner that thoroughly understood the complicated nuances of bringing a mobile unit on the road.
BodyTom’s ability to deliver high-quality low-dose lung images in real time was also paramount to our decision. Given the time that the unit spends in remote areas that may not have immediate access to emergency services, it was important for us to prioritize safety as well. BodyTom’s shielded workstation delivers 0.5mm of protection for our staff, and internal lead shielding provides another 0.75mm to reduce radiation scatter in the vehicle.