by Lauren Dubinsky
, Senior Reporter | August 10, 2020
From the August 2020 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
Remote monitoring during the pandemic
Since it’s challenging to determine when a CT tube is at the end of its life, OEM remote monitoring technology has historically helped facilities avoid unplanned downtime. However, the current global COVID-19 pandemic is highlighting the importance of this technology in an entirely different way.
“Remote monitoring is playing a significant role to which COVID-19 has only strengthened the need and importance of this type of capability and solution,” said GE’s Goryl. “Remote fix and monitoring technologies are being implemented to assist in reducing direct human contact within patient and clinical environments in an effort to help minimize potential exposure to COVID-19 for the patients, clinical staff and service personnel.”
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With resources like OnWatch and Tube Watch, GE has expanded its remote tube maintenance capabilities by providing direct healthcare technology management (HTM) support through its service management system.
OnWatch is fully automated and continuously monitors critical subsystem elements within the CT scanner to detect any deviations from normal performance. If there is an issue, a GE engineer can remotely diagnose it and may be able to fix it remotely as well. Tube Watch leverages artificial intelligence, machine learning and software analytics to monitor and analyze tube health.
“We have just been taught a lesson, over the past [few] months with COVID-19, where a lot of support shifted from an onsite visit to remote monitoring support,” said Dunlee’s Eitel. “I think our industry has been slow in catching up to this trend [of digitization] and I think it’s a very important thing to do.”
Dunlee is also helping during the pandemic in other ways. Since CT scanners can detect the opacities in the lungs that are indicative of COVID-19, there is an increasing demand for tubes. Therefore, the company has escalated the production of its CT4000, CT6000 and CT8000 liquid metal bearing tubes.
Busy imaging departments don’t have the time to wait for the tubes to cool down between CT exams, Eitel explained. By increasing production, Dunlee is ensuring that CT system manufacturers that use their tubes can supply hospitals with CT scanners that can tolerate high patient volumes.