Author: Leona Werezak

22 Dec 2021

Physical, Cognitive, and Organizational Ergonomics

As medical offices work to increase patient satisfaction while reducing costs, employee injuries, and sick time, their workplaces’ physical, cognitive and organizational ergonomics are crucial to evaluate and correct, if necessary, to meet these goals.

According to the International Ergonomics Association (IEA), the word “ergonomics” refers to “the science of work” and “is derived from the Greek ergon (work) and nomos (laws).” The IEA goes on to explain that the terms “ergonomics” and “human factors” can be used interchangeably or combined—“(e.g., human factors and ergonomics – HFE or EHF).”

As such, HFE examines the “physical, cognitive, sociotechnical, organizational, environmental and other relevant factors, as well as the complex interactions between the human and other humans, the environment, tools, products, equipment, and technology.”

HFE can be further broken down into the three sub-disciplines of physical, cognitive, and organizational ergonomics to evaluate their individual and combined effects on people working within a given system.

Simply put, physical ergonomics is concerned with the human physical body, cognitive ergonomics with the human brain, and organizational ergonomics with systems and the unique cultures within them.

Ergonomics is also considered to be “both a science and a profession.” As a science, ergonomics focuses on understanding how humans interact with other elements of a system. As a profession, ergonomics aims to maximize human well-being and system performance which is accomplished by applying data, principles, theories, and methods to design concepts.

 

What is Physical Ergonomics?

 

In looking at the human body, the focus in physical ergonomics is on preventing injuries, increasing productivity, and reducing errors and quality concerns.

Injury prevention is accomplished by evaluating and designing workplaces to make safety a top priority while ensuring jobs and tasks are completed as efficiently as possible. This includes assessment of physical activities such as repetitive movements, postures and body positions, and manual tasks performed. It also includes examining how people use their bodies to work with equipment, tools, and other people to perform daily tasks.

 

How Does Physical Ergonomics Help Increase Productivity?

 

When workers experience less physical strain and difficulty performing their work, studies have shown they are more productive.

For example, a study conducted by Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health found a 46% increase in employee productivity at a call center when employees were provided with a sit/stand desk that allowed them to change their body position and stand or sit to be more comfortable while working.

Researchers found that employees with stand-capable desks sat approximately 1.6 hours less than their fellow employees who worked at traditional seated desk setups. Productivity was defined as “how many successful calls workers completed per hour at work.”

In addition, almost 75% of employees with stand-capable desks reported less “body discomfort” after using these desks for the 6 months of the study. So, in addition to increased productivity, these employees’ overall sense of well-being and health improved as well.

 

How Does Physical Ergonomics Help Reduce Errors and Quality Concerns?

 

According to the Center For Occupational and Environmental Health (COEH) at the University of California, Berkeley, “Poor ergonomics can have a direct negative impact on quality and profit. Ergonomically unsound designs can lead to physical and mental fatigue, and in turn, errors and reduction in work quality.”

Researchers note that when tasks require greater precision or force, there are corresponding increases in quality errors, fatigue, and the subsequent need for more inspection.

For businesses, they point out that worker fatigue can also result in decreased customer satisfaction and more equipment malfunctions and replacements.

 

What is Cognitive Ergonomics?

 

Cognitive ergonomics is concerned with the human brain’s ability to interact with and process information, and subsequently, the quality of a person’s performance within a given system.

This sub-discipline of cognitive ergonomics analyzes things like training, decision making, and “mental workload.” Ergonomists in this field are also involved in making assessments and recommendations regarding design, usability, and human-machine interaction, as well as analyzing errors and investigating workplace accidents.

From a product perspective, cognitive ergonomics “focuses on how well the use of a product matches the cognitive capabilities of users”. And as David Bulfin explains, this includes understanding how the human mind “naturally” responds to stimuli, which is influenced by both cultural and evolutionary factors.

From a design perspective, ergonomists are key when it comes to designing products and systems that provide a better user experience by taking into consideration the limitations and capabilities of its users. The goal is to design products and systems that are “simple, clear, and easy to use, contributing to a superior overall user experience.”

 

What is Macroergonomics?

 

Macroergonomics, also referred to as organizational ergonomics, assesses how organizations and systems interact and how these systems of work are designed. It includes having the knowledge and ability to improve systems of work to improve an organization’s overall performance and effectiveness.

As a result, macroergonomics involves optimizing an organization’s policies, processes, and structures that make up its socio-technical system (STS).

A socio-technical system refers to looking at systems from a broad perspective and “considers requirements spanning hardware, software, personal, and community aspects.”

As the Interaction Design Foundation explains, STSs “(apply) an understanding of the social structures, roles and rights (the social sciences) to inform the design of systems that involve communities of people and technology. Examples of STSs include emails, blogs, and social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter”, to name a few.

Macroergonomics can be approached many different ways within an organization: top-down, bottom-up, and middle-out.

To improve macroergonomics, or organizational ergonomics, using a top-down approach, the work structure, flow, and resources available to perform work may be “prescribed” by those in leadership or management positions. A middle-out approach involves analyzing an organization from within to determine how effective its work systems and processes are, both up and down the “organizational hierarchy.” Using a bottom-up approach requires significant participation and input of employees to identify problems and possible solutions.

Workplace elements that may need to be assessed to improve a business’s organizational ergonomics include:

  • Communication
  • Cooperative work
  • Community ergonomics
  • Crew resource management
  • Design of work times
  • New work paradigms
  • Participatory design
  • Telework or remote work
  • Quality management
  • Teamwork
  • Virtual organizations
  • Work design

 

Getting the physical, cognitive, and organizational ergonomics right in your workplace doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. But it does require finding out what employees find helpful and problematic when trying to perform their jobs. Starting with the most obvious problems and working towards solutions with an expert in ergonomics can help ensure any changes you do make are likely to pay you back in spades.

Double Black Imaging is the industry leader in medical monitor systems for medical practices and offices. We can answer your questions, provide demos, and help you find solutions that meet your needs and budget.

Contact one of our diagnostic imaging experts today for information about quality medical grade monitors, the use of automated calibration tools, and other benefits of purchasing monitors from Double Black Imaging.

 

29 Nov 2021

What Is Interventional Radiology?

Interventional radiology (IR) is a medical sub-specialty of radiology that performs minimally-invasive procedures with the aid of medical imaging devices to diagnose and treat diseases in nearly every organ in the human body. Most areas of hospital medicine and ​​patient management have been impacted by IR. With the help of these devices, interventional radiologists interpret the images to guide, monitor, and provide appropriate actions during medical procedures, thus ensuring patients’ safety.

All professionals that practice IR are board-certified, fellowship trained physicians who have graduated from an accredited medical school, passed a licensing examination, and completed at least five years of graduate medical education. Additionally, they have undergone one of the various paths to board certification, specialized training programs certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and have been certified by the American Board of Radiology. To become certified by these boards, interventional radiologists must prove their expertise in radiation safety, radiation physics, and the biological effects of radiation and injury prevention. Furthermore, they must show their thorough proficiency in invasive treatments as well as diagnostic and clinical experience.

What are the benefits of interventional radiology?

 

IR procedures are steadily increasing in popularity because of how effective they are in comparison with traditional surgeries. IR procedures often mean reduced costs, decreased recovery time, reduced risk, and less pain for patients. In fact, in many cases they don’t even need to be carried out in a hospital.

  • Reduced costs: Hospital stays and general anesthesia are often what make surgical procedure costs high. IR means the invasive procedure will be minimal as well as effective and precise, and patients will be sleeping in their own bed that night.
  • Quicker convalescence: Typically, patients recover much faster from an IR procedure than traditional open surgery methods. For instance, a hysterectomy can take weeks to fully heal from, whereas having a uterine fibroid embolization (a procedure using IR) takes days to recover from.
  • Reduced risk: General anesthesia is unavoidable in open surgery. However, with IR procedures, local anesthetics are applied to the area that will be treated. This eliminates the risks of going under the full effect of the medically induced coma, as well as the risk of patients’ inner organs being exposed to bacteria for a prolonged period.

 

What kind of procedures are performed in interventional radiology?

 

Even though interventional radiologists are skilled in various techniques, procedures often fall into three main categories:

Arteries and Blood Vessel procedures: The shrinking of arteries and blood vessels can restrict blood flow. Lack of blood flow to limbs may lead to amputation in some cases. To treat this, interventional radiologists use balloon angioplasty (a kind of balloon) or metal springs to hold arteries open, or they can help save limbs by infusing clot-busting drugs directly into the artery via small catheters.

Hemorrhage is one of the most common vascular emergencies that IRs treat. Bleeding can come from anywhere in the body and is often stopped by blocking the vessel. Interventional radiologists often prevent hemorrhage during surgical procedures with a stent gaft or by blowing up a balloon in the vessel.

 

Non-vascular intervention radiology: This technique is often used for treatments in the field of oncology, but treatments are also efficient when it comes to benign tumors. The aim of this treatment is to shrink or destroy tumors that are either at their primary site or have spread. Ultrasound, computed tomography, or magnetic resonance are the kinds of imaging often used in tumor therapies. Ultimately, the goal of this intervention is for patient survival.

 

Kidney stones and gallstones are some of the most common abdominal diseases. Kidney stones cause pain, infection and blockage of the kidney which can lead to irreversible kidney damage if it’s not treated quickly. With the help of IR, an endoscope can be accurately passed into the kidney through a small skin incision which enables surgeons to break the stone, pull the fragments out or drain urine from the kidney.

Gall stones are cured with laparoscopic surgery, where IR is used to ensure greater precision during the procedure. Sometimes interventional radiologists are required to perform drainage by placing catheter tubes through the liver to either remove the stones or place stents to allow drainage.

 

Therapeutic and Diagnostic Specialty

 

The range of techniques used in IR help target therapy and diagnosis more precisely. The aim of IR is to diagnose and treat patients using the least invasive techniques, ultimately minimizing risk to the patient while improving their health outcomes. IR is often a great option to traditional open surgery and is increasingly becoming a primary approach to treat various conditions. IR professionals often collaborate with other physicians to provide patients with a comprehensive evaluation and manage image-guided interventions. Some of the most commonly implemented image-guided therapeutic and diagnostic procedures include:

  • Gastrointestinal
  • Hepatobiliary
  • Genitourinary
  • Pulmonary
  • Musculoskeletal
  • Central Nervous system

 

Get started with an ​​interventional radiology suite that will improve your patient care

 

When it comes to making an important investment in your healthcare facility, you want to make sure you do so through a reliable company that has a thorough understanding of your needs. With over 30 years of experience in the high-performance display industry, Double Black Imaging provides ways to make imaging more efficient. Dedicated to building long-term customer relationships, we are committed to supporting quality products with exceptional customer service.

Double Black Imaging offers the latest mobile medical imaging technology at competitive prices and can walk you through how to implement it in your healthcare organization. Contact Double Black Imaging for help with making the most of your purchase, or take a look at our latest medical imaging technology.

26 Oct 2021

Ergonomics in Interventional Radiology

Professionals in interventional radiology perform medical imaging during various minimally-invasive procedures such as X-ray fluoroscopy, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, or ultrasounds. These imaging tests can help diagnose, cure, or alleviate symptoms of vascular disease, stroke, cancer, and much more.

Although times may vary depending on each individual case, interventional radiology procedures usually take approximately four hours. During any invasive procedure, the patient’s safety is the top priority, which is why a lot of interventional radiologists neglect basic ergonomic needs and ultimately, their health during procedures. This means interventional radiologists are regularly exposed to radiation, and lack of ergonomic equipment can lead to work-related musculoskeletal disorders in the long term.

In fact, in interventional radiology, the use of x-ray aprons, in association with awkward postures and non-ergonomic working conditions, might increase the likelihood of musculoskeletal disorders. The prevalence of neck and back pain at least once a week ranges from 50% to 60% for those who use lead aprons frequently. Additionally, not having the right equipment to work with, will likely impact their livelihoods, quality of life, and productivity in various ways.

Even though interventional radiology often overlaps with other specialties such as cardiology, vascular surgery, orthopedic surgery, and urology among others, implementing unique ergonomic considerations is key to ensure interventional radiologists’ safety in their place of work. Having an interventional radiology suite with ergonomic equipment is crucial to the prevention of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and injury. By including ergonomic interventional radiology equipment in your facility, you are investing in the health, wellbeing, and productivity of interventional radiologists.

 

Here are a few things to consider to maximize your investment and efficiently plan for a new interventional radiology suite:

 

What makes up an efficient interventional radiology suite?

 

To optimize interventional radiologists’ performance, as well as improve their wellbeing while meeting patients’ needs, there are various crucial aspects to consider when planning for your suite. One of the key things to keep in mind is the types of procedures the equipment will be used for. There are often various professionals that are part of a procedure, such as nurses, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and radiologists. Understanding each professional’s role and the input will ensure you plan your investment accordingly.

Each area of expertise requires its own set of equipment and standards to follow during the installation. The Society of Interventional Radiology published “Resource and Environment Recommended Standards for the IR” where it details recommendations for the interventional radiology surgical suite.

Furthermore, The Society of interventional Radiology recommends: “The preparatory and recovery areas must be located in a setting with adequate electrical, oxygen, suction, anesthesia, and emergency services. There must be appropriate temperature and humidity control, air exchange and ventilation, lighting, computer terminals, PACS access, and monitoring equipment. Access to basic and advanced resuscitation equipment as well as necessary medications and fluids and adequate support area for supplies, nutritional support, ice machines, blanket warmers, and nursing space is also required.”

How is interventional radiology equipment different?

 

The main focus when purchasing new equipment should be to make interventional radiologists’ workflow more ergonomic and make patient care more personalized. The following is a list of essential equipment that is required in an interventional radiology suite:

 

  • Imaging equipment:

 
Limiting radiation exposure is key for IRs. While lead aprons are commonly used they can weigh up to 15 pounds and increase pressure in the lumbar or cervical discs. Instead, today’s mobile technology like CT scanners can provide improved quality without high radiation exposure. Because interventional radiology is used during invasive procedures, it’s key for both radiologists and surgeons to clearly see what they’re working on. Using surgical displays can ensure any issues that come up are addressed immediately. Ultimately, they make any procedure safer while ensuring issues can be observed in real-time during crucial operations.

  • Ultrasound equipment:

 
Awkward positions are often adopted by professionals performing ultrasounds. Upper extremities are usually sustained in forceful gripping for long periods of time and are often conducive to work-related MSDs. In fact, ​​studies found that the average scan can lead to back, neck, and shoulder pain. To avoid the risk of MSDs, IRs should vary their exam postures throughout their working day.
Enter ergonomic workstations. Every radiologist needs the easy adjustability that an ergonomic desk setup will provide to stay productive. Ergonomic workstations that include adjustable heights, give IRs the possibility to switch their position, limiting the risk of postural and visual fatigue. Whether IRs are working sitting down or standing up, monitors should be placed just below eye level so that the neck muscles are relaxed at a downward viewing angle.

 

  • Medical grade computer monitors:

 
Today, these crucial devices are revolutionizing the medical industry with their ability to provide faster, cost-effective, and convenient imaging services in contrast with traditional imaging departments in hospitals and third-party facilities. Using a large screen and a broadcast video system may allow an ergonomic multimodal visualization that ensures IRs, surgeons, and any other key personnel attending a procedure has a clear picture.

 

Why interventional radiology equipment is key to improving your radiology teams efficiency

 

Work-related MSDs don’t only cause pain and discomfort during procedures, but affect IRs during their time off work. This can lead to burnout, a response to stress that involves both physical and emotional exhaustion and cognitive weariness. The risk with healthcare professionals having burnout is that ultimately it can affect their cardiovascular health and cause depression. However, promoting the wellness of IRs can help prevent this.

Interventional radiology suite design was created to make a safer, more efficient, and productive work environment for IRs. By investing in an IR suite, you can further optimize the performance and well-being of IRs while significantly reducing the risk of MSDs in your healthcare facility.

 

Get started with an ​​interventional radiology suite that will make your radiology practice more productive

 

When it comes to making an important investment in your healthcare facility, you want to make sure you do so through a reliable company that has a thorough understanding of your needs. With over 30 years of experience in the high-performance display industry, Double Black Imaging provides ways to make imaging more efficient. Dedicated to building long-term customer relationships, they are committed to supporting quality products with exceptional customer service.

Double Black Imaging offers the latest mobile medical imaging technology as well as ergonomic workstations at competitive prices and can walk you through how to implement it in your healthcare organization. Contact Double Black Imaging for help with making the most of your purchase, or take a look at our latest ergonomic workstations.

22 Sep 2021

Improving Patient Care in Radiology

During the past decade, and especially with the new normal, the medical model has shifted to focus on patient-centered care. Patient-centered care (PCC) is at the heart of medicine and focuses on each individual’s particular healthcare needs. Treatments, medications, and medical approaches are tailored to the patient’s preferences, needs, and values. What is Patient-Centered Care? Today, PCC is equated with high-quality medical services. At the core of PPC is the moral obligation to care for patients on their terms. This way it’s ensured that patients are listened to, informed, respected, and become more significantly involved in the care process.

Evidence-based medicine acknowledges that a successful outcome is not only what is valued by physicians but also what is meaningful to the patients themselves. Preparing health care professionals to be more mindful, informative, and empathic shifts their role which in the past has been characterized by that of being a detached authority to one that encourages partnership, solidarity, empathy, and collaboration. With our diagnostic radiology display monitors, practitioners can evaluate the best course of action and treatment for patients, while simultaneously helping to provide a medical experience that also caters to the patient’s requests.

How Radiology Displays Improve Patient Centered Care:

 

The Benefits of Patient-Centered Care? PCC can be profoundly beneficial when done right. However, confusion on what the term’s aim can produce unhelpful results that are superficial and ineffective. In fact, some hospitals and healthcare facilities operate in the name of patient-centered care but instead adopt models used by hotels, including greeters, greenery, and gadgets. Even though these services are great for the patient’s experience they don’t necessarily accomplish the aim of patient-centered care. A partial positive patient experience isn’t the goal. Sure, patients should have a good experience when they embark on their care process, but PCC is much more comprehensive and addresses a much deeper level. Our diagnostic radiology display monitors seek to uphold the tenets of the Patient-Center Care model by helping departments and radiologists evaluate patients true needs, and apply medical assistance from those images.

Here are the benefits both patients and healthcare facilities can accomplish when PCC is implemented properly:

Access to a Comprehensive Patient Profile: Within the healthcare system patients often have various touchpoints making it challenging to access their data as it’s spread out through website usage, social media, claims, provider data, and many others. Adopting this method helps to provide patient care under one roof, and with our radiology display monitors, patient care is evaluated based on radiological imaging.

Information is power: By creating a comprehensive profile of your patient, with radiology displays, you are ensuring you have a full picture of their health and medical history. With this information, you’ll be able to provide your patients with the kind of high-quality care that PCC aims for.

Build trust and increase customer retention: According to a 2021 Beryl Institute report, 70% of patients will share a positive experience with others. But your bigger risk is that 76% will share a negative one. And with a negative experience, 43% of patients won’t go back to that provider, with 37% finding a different doctor altogether. By implementing PCC you’re ensuring your patients get the best possible experience by acting upon the ailment. Ultimately, not only will your patients keep going back to a healthcare facility they trust, but they’ll share this positive experience with others.

Increase Patient Engagement: An interactive process with patients ensures a quality-based experience for them. Guiding them through their care journey at your healthcare facility while keeping an open communication will keep your patients engaged as well as deliver a personalized end-to end care.

Discover how our diagnostic radiology display monitors can help improve your practice today.

24 Aug 2021

Benefits of Mobile Medical Imaging

 Mobile medical imaging is gaining increasing momentum in the medical field.  This cost-effective service helps patients get an early diagnosis from medical facilities, homes, or their workplaces.  With the new normal, healthcare facilities often become overwhelmed, making mobile imaging services become more convenient for patients than in-house imaging services.

In fact, mobile medical imaging is projected to increase in popularity in the medical industry. A 2020 study by Coherent Market Insights, found that by 2027, the mobile imaging services market will account for $ 16,709.3 Million with a 3.3% compound annual growth rate.  Though mobile medical imaging is a recent addition to the medical industry, these services are easy to integrate into existing ones without incurring additional costs.

What is Mobile Medical Imaging?

 

Mobile imaging enables both patients or healthcare professionals to access the equipment they need, wherever they need it.  Whether patients are at the office, home, or at a medical facility, mobile imaging offers comprehensive X-Ray, EKG, and ultrasound services among others.  This flexible service is especially helpful for patients suffering from memory-related disorders who favor a familiar environment or to help surgeons make informed decisions during a critical moment in an operation.Mobile Medical Imaging

The following are some of the most popular uses for mobile imaging:

  • X-Ray: The most frequent use of X-rays is to identify bone injuries, deformities, and observe bone healing. However, X-rays are used in other ways as well.  For instance, chest X-rays can detect pneumonia ​​or bronchitis and other placements can detect gallstones as well as kidney stones.  Additionally, X-rays can be used to check for the correct placement of other medical devices such as implantable pumps and catheters.

 

  • EKG: An electrocardiogram is used to check for signs of heart disease. This technology detects the electrical signal from patients’ hearts using electrodes placed on the skin.  It’s one of the easiest and fastest tests to check for abnormalities or heart damage such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cigarette smoking, diabetes or heart disease.  EKGs also help healthcare professionals check how efficiently medication is working and whether it’s causing side effects that have a negative impact on the heart.

 

  • Ultrasound: Ultrasound imaging uses high-frequency sound waves to capture images from internal body structures such as tendons, muscles, joints, blood vessels, and internal organs. This imaging method is used for diagnosing the causes of pain, swelling, infections in the body’s internal organs, and to examine a baby in pregnant women.  Additionally, this technology can help identify abdominal aneurysms, carotid occlusive disease and carotid artery disease, renal vascular disease, hypertension and early signs of kidney failure

 

What are the Benefits of Mobile Medical Imaging?

 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) an estimated 3.6 billion diagnostic medical examinations, such as X-rays, are performed every year, and the number continues to increase. In the past, when patients required X-rays, ultrasounds, or EKGs, they would be sent to the in-house imaging department at the hospital.  Due to the high demand for these services, in-house departments often get overwhelmed, which lead to long wait times.  With the new normal this is especially problematic.  Sitting for long stretches of time in busy waiting rooms is not only a cause for concern regarding COVID-19 infection, but it’s often the case that these diagnoses are time-sensitive.  Whether patients are using third-party imaging facilities or doing it in-house at a hospital, having an imaging service performed typically takes longer.

With our monitors and equipment, we can help you begin your practice as mobile medical imaging company with our mobile medical imaging equipment and monitors.

Mobile imaging services enable patients to have much more flexible access to imaging scans.  This kind of imaging service is not only much more accommodating to patients, but also much more cost-effective. Mobile imaging allows for faster turnaround times which ultimately help healthcare professionals diagnose patients in a shorter time frame.

Improved Patient Care

 

Patient care is a top priority for healthcare facilities which is why increasing organizations are adopting mobile imaging.  When a patient is critically ill or has a debilitating mental illness, it could put them at risk to have them mobilized to a hospital’s imaging department or to go to an imaging facility.  Enabling access to diagnostic imaging for high-risk patients is not only much more accommodating to their needs, but could save lives.

Additionally, not having to move patients from one place to another, means other nearby patients will be able to heal better and faster.  Quiet environments allow patients to sleep and rest much more effectively, which enables them to heal faster.  Decreasing noise and activity not only enable better rest but also lead to fewer spikes in heart rate, blood pressure, cortisol output, and overall anxiety.

Quick Diagnosis

 

Mobile medical imaging services help healthcare facilities address delays that are related to performing diagnostic imaging.  Factoring out the time it takes to transport a patient from their bedside to where images will be performed, makes the image capture process significantly faster.  Additionally, the images captured by the patient’s bedside can be viewed by healthcare professionals immediately, which ultimately helps speed up diagnosis.

Improved Use of a Physical Layout

 

One of the main concerns of implementing new technology into existing care services is its integration with the current technology as well as the investment of time and funds.  Integrating mobile imaging into existing services is seamless because there are no space requirements, no equipment overhead, and no training is necessary.

All you need to operate your mobile imaging service is an easily accessible level location, proximity to power sources, and protection from the elements.  Additionally, you should make sure the distance from network connections isn’t too far as this will ensure the reliability of speedy IT connections and how swiftly the equipment can scan.

Mobile medical imaging services are revolutionizing the medical industry with their ability to provide faster, cost-effective, and convenient imaging services in contrast with traditional imaging departments in hospitals and third-party facilities.  Today more than ever, imaging professionals have a much more flexible and crucial role that has a real-time impact on patients’ health.

With this portable technology, healthcare professionals don’t have to use small doses of radiation in scans that could seriously affect the health of both patients and attending healthcare professionals.  Instead, today’s mobile technology like CT scanners can provide improved quality without high radiation exposure. Uses in surgeries can ensure there is no internal bleeding, necessary cuts and dissections are minimally invasive, and other issues can be observed in real-time during crucial operations.  With the ability to provide faster and more accomodating diagnostic medical examinations, healthcare professionals are better able to address patients issues and continue to save lives with the help of mobile medical imaging.

With over 30 years of experience in the high-performance display industry, Double Black Imaging provides ways to make imaging more efficient.  Dedicated to building long-term customer relationships, they are committed to supporting quality products with exceptional customer service. We can help you begin your journey as a mobile medical imaging provider.

The Largest Radiology Group in North America stated:
“If I was dealing with one of the large corporate companies, I probably wouldn’t have expected a reply for a couple of days. Great to see that I have some instant support.  That is definitely one of the factors in our decision.  That’s why you are so successful… you guys are doing things right out there in Colorado!  Another happy customer.”

Double Black Imaging offers the latest mobile medical imaging technology at competitive prices and can walk you through how to implement it in your healthcare organization.  Contact Double Black Imaging for help with making the most of your purchase or take a look at our latest medical monitors.

Double Black Imaging understands the monitors and equipment you will need to begin your practice and enhance your ability to become a mobile medical imaging company.

13 Aug 2021

Artificial Intelligence in Medical Imaging

Artificial Intelligence in Medical Imaging

Artificial intelligence has revolutionized the way the medical industry approaches decision-making. Data collected by AI affords healthcare workers and scientists detailed insights and efficient tools that streamline medical processes.  Its scope ranges from scheduling appointments and digitizing medical records, to drug dosage algorithms and adverse effect warnings when multidrug combinations are prescribed.  From its early days being used for administrative work, AI has become an indispensable tool in several branches of medicine, most significantly in medical imaging.

 

How AI Can Help Make Data-Backed Decisions

During the last decade the use of data has become increasingly valuable and crucial in businesses across the world.  This is especially true in the medical industry.  Hard data is the panacea.  It enables professionals to make faster and more accurate decisions by setting aside biases and information gaps.  This awareness has led to major players in the medical industry allocating significant investments into tools that can help capture, store, and leverage data resources in order to stay competitive in a rapidly evolving global landscape.

Radiology, CAD (computer-assisted diagnosis), and MRIs are some of the primary technologies that have efficiently incorporated AI.  By implementing AI, healthcare professionals are able to access much more accurate, sensitive, and specific data that aids in the detection of small radiographic abnormalities that lead to improved diagnosis and treatment. Processing significant numbers of medical images has become faster, ultimately expediting the detection of disease characteristics that would normally go unnoticed by the human eye.  Additionally, false-positive diagnosis can be greatly reduced by AI identifying and flagging abnormal exams.  This is especially helpful for computed tomographies, X-rays, magnetic resonance images in high volume settings, and hospitals with less available human resources.  Furthermore, finding reliable data that can go undetected by humans such as molecular markers in tumors is much more accurate with this tool.

 

How AI is Impacting Radiology

AI shows special promise in radiology because it will increasingly optimize workflows, facilitate quantitative radiology, aid the discovery of genomic markers, and much more. AI has become essential for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.  By recognizing complex patterns in imaging data and providing quantitative assessments of radiographic characteristics, healthcare professionals are able to make much more informed decisions and provide better patient care.

In the coming years, AI will radically transform radiology, particularly with Artificial Intelligence in Medical Imaging.  It will impact clinical processes by reducing administrative burden as well, ensuring billing efficiency, procedure integrity, and fraud detection.  Not only will healthcare professionals be much more efficient but they’ll be able to focus much more on patients with the help of automation.  Decades of entrenched data silos that exist in healthcare facilities will be digitized and automated.  This way the entirety of patient records will be available to healthcare professionals.  They’ll have a comprehensive patient story which can be easily accessed instead of having to manually hunt down data across systems.

 

Recent Improvements Using Artificial Intelligence in Medical Imaging


The core purpose of AI is machine learning.  From its early days in radiology it has been used to understand how to classify an image (i.e. whether it had a tumor in a specific area). In its early days, machine learning required users to input and determine a significant amount of data.  However, the aim of using AI is for it to implement deep learning. Deep learning doesn’t require explicit user input and learns much more from the data it accesses.  With deep learning, high-level features can be extracted from raw image inputs, disentangling abstractions and it can determine how its performance can improve.

Though the concept of deep learning was approached decades ago, it has not been feasible until now.  Using deep learning Artificial Intelligence in Medical Imaging, momentous improvements in research have been demonstrated. A study by Ardila et al proposed a deep learning algorithm to predict the risk of lung cancer using patients’ current and prior CT volumes. The model achieved advanced performance on 6,716 national lung cancer screening trial cases.  Compared to conventional screenings which have risks of false-positive exams, overdiagnosis, diagnostic evaluation complications, and radiation exposure, AI diagnosis performed 94.4% under the curve, significantly reducing these risks.

 

Workflow Efficiency Using Artificial Intelligence in Medical Imaging


Using AI for medical imaging, not only improves patient care, but also optimizes workflows significantly.  Automating processes saves time and can make the difference when a patient’s life is at risk.  With the new normal, automation is becoming more crucial than ever as more radiographers and other medical staff may experience burnout.  Intelligent imaging features make images easier to read and can catch details that may go undetected by the human eye especially if radiologists are fatigued, have little experience, or there’s a high volume of studies to review.  Additionally, exams can be carried out quicker and workloads can be reduced by assigning monotonous tasks like segmenting structures to AI.

Among the most prominent features that have greatly improved workflow efficiency in medical imaging is image capture.  Using artificial intelligence in medical imaging software, quality image capture is greatly improved.  This means radiologists have improved visualization and consistent presentation.  Patient care becomes much more personalized due to the radiation dose being optimized and custom preference looks can be implemented.

Not only do AI-driven radiology solutions provide consistent quality and imaging, but they also reduce retakes and don’t require additional training.  This tool enables more quantitative imaging that detects lesions that may be subtle and can go unnoticed when radiologists aren’t fully focused.  Moreover, best sanitary practices are easily implemented by radiographers because the time they need to be in close contact with patients for positioning is reduced.  This is especially crucial when there’s infectious diseases.

AI solutions continue to be developed at a rapid pace. The long-term impact it could have on patient care is momentously promising.  Radiology generates large quantities of digital data as images.  Using artificial intelligence in medical imagingto include this data into patients’ clinical history will significantly improve diagnosis, treatment planning, screening, follow up, and prognosis.  By using the right AI tools for your healthcare facility, you’ll not only ensure business continuity but considerably improve patient care.

With over 25 years of experience in the high-performance display industry, Double Black Imaging provides ways to make imaging more efficient.  Dedicated to building long-term customer relationships, they are committed to supporting quality products with exceptional customer service.

A nonprofit Healthcare Organization with 12 hospitals stated:
“Our experience with Double Black Imaging and WIDE monitors in our enterprise has been excellent. The product selection and quality has been great to fulfill our needs.  Technical support has been excellent from Double Black Imaging, X-CAL can be run from a server if you have a multi-hospital enterprise as we do and can save the PACS administrator a lot of time.”

Whether you’re looking to implement AI into your medical processes or furnish your healthcare facility, Double Black Imaging offers the latest technology at competitive prices and can help install your new device.  Contact our team of radiology imaging experts at Double Black Imaging for help with making the most of your purchase or take a look at our latest medical monitors.

15 Jun 2021

Filling the Gaps in Radiology Workflow

Filling the Gaps in Radiology Workflow

Load balancing, or equitable distribution of radiology workflow, has been a longstanding and widely disputed issue in radiology stemming back to the pre-PACS era. Unequal workloads resulting in unequal compensation have threatened to divide many imaging practices. The introduction of PACS solved many of the imaging and reading problems radiologists used to face, and even saw some groups doubling production, but did not fill in all the gaps in radiology workflow.

The advent of PACS also occurred during a period of healthcare reform that demanded higher production and higher quality benchmarks while lowering reimbursements. And new problems emerged as easier cases were quickly processed while complex cases sat unattended on work lists for days. This has resulted in a full circle return to unequal workload distribution and conflict among radiologists.

Why Is Good Radiology Workflow Important?

Balanced medical imaging workflow is an elusive goal radiologists have pursued for decades due to its widespread effects on both the profession and the healthcare system. And while a radiology practice or department completes many tasks, a study has shown that roughly 80% of radiology workflow problems can be attributed to 20% of its cases. Identifying these problems can help bring about customized solutions.

With radiology being a $100-billion dollar industry, leaders in the field point out “approximately $15 billion to $20 billion of radiology’s expenditures are unnecessary and avoidable. Either the right test is conducted at the wrong time, or patients receive a repeat exam. Regardless, improving workflow can save not only money, but it can also save practices’ and departments’ time.”

Besides saving money, more efficient workflows can help reduce delays in patient care as well as medical record and clinical errors. This can be accomplished through real-time communication to manage and transfer patient data.

Another gap in radiology workflow as a result of the evolution of imaging technology is communication between radiologists and clinicians. It used to be that clinicians had to call and speak to the radiologist about imaging results or physically walk over to the radiology department to discuss and view patient results. Since the introduction of PACS, clinicians can review radiological reports and images anytime from any location. While the importance of face-to-face communication may be debatable, the importance of accurate and timely communication between radiologists and clinicians for patient safety and care remains important to all physicians.

Improved imaging and workflow efficiency also results in better patient care as a result of improved consistency, higher quality imaging, and individualized medical care.

Better working relationships with care providers and more effective use of office hours are other important benefits when radiology workflow is handled efficiently and fairly distributed.

How Has Technology Changed in Radiology?

It is now common to see health systems with different PACS installations from different vendors spread across the networks of imaging centers and hospitals. A shared goal in these systems is to aim for equitable case distribution amongst radiologists across these vast networks, and to try to improve efficiency and workload balance while ensuring the most qualified radiologists are assigned the most complex cases.

Brady concurs, explaining “Orchestrating workflow more efficiently is a win-win-win for patients, physicians, and staff. Patients benefit when the radiologist who’s best equipped for and experienced in reading that type of subspecialized exam is automatically chosen to read it, and it’s routed quickly and efficiently.”

One of the medical imaging workflow problems Double Black Imaging solved is requiring different displays depending on the modality being read. It is not conducive to a smooth workflow if a radiologist has to change workstations to read CT,MR, Nuc Med, Chest, Bone or Mammo/Tomo. Their 8MP and 12MP large format displays enable doctors to read any modality from one large screen. 5MP Color displays provide radiologists a dual monitor set up for multi-modality imaging if two screens are preferred over one.

How Has Technology Changed Medical Imaging Workflow?

To help improve communication between radiologists and clinicians, some radiology departments have found unique ways to use imaging technology. For example, NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City has incorporated virtual radiology rounds and multimedia reporting to improve communication with clinicians.

For virtual radiology rounds, clinicians arrange online meetings with radiologists to review images and reports. “The clinicians and radiologists then use web cameras to see each other during the meetings, and they also remotely share a computer screen and mouse. This allows both parties to point out details on the images, provide feedback, and ask questions — just as they would during in-person consultations….” Not only has this improved communication with clinicians, but radiologists also feel it makes them more “visible” and helps create greater value for patients and referring physicians.

Due to the success of these virtual rounds, radiologists at NYU Langone plan to begin offering virtual consults on demand to physicians’ offices at hospital outpatient departments as well. When the clinician loads the images into the hospital’s PACS, a message will pop up asking them if they want to speak to a radiologist. If the clinician clicks ‘yes’, the radiologist assigned to those cases receives a message on their phone or other electronic device advising them an on-demand consult is being requested. Radiologists at NYU Langone anticipate this service will provide significant value to both physicians and patients while restoring the role of radiologists as consultants and integral members of the clinical care team.

What Impact Will AI and Machine Learning Have on Radiology?

Artificial intelligence, also known as machine intelligence, refers to a wide scope of intelligent functions that can be performed by computers such as planning, language processing, knowledge representation, problem solving, and actual “learning” based on previous data it has reviewed and processed.

While AI is not expected to replace radiologists, it has been compared to the autopilot function on airplanes that relieves pilots of performing repetitive and tedious but necessary safety checks and tasks. Arazi notes that once the COVID-19 pandemic tapers off, AI will play a key role in helping radiologists save lives post-pandemic. He suggests it will do this by helping prioritize growing numbers of non-urgent but important procedures that were set aside due to the pandemic, such as cardiovascular imaging, bone-health scans, and mammography screening.

AI also has the potential to change the role of radiologists from active disease diagnosticians to proactive diagnosticians, assisting patients with early intervention and even preventive care by identifying potential problems before they occur.

Similarly, machine learning is one type of artificial intelligence that can be used to pull, organize, and analyze information from big data sets created by large electronic medical record systems. This information can then be used as a basis for anticipating patient outcomes and clinical decision-making.

In the future, machine learning may also help improve different components of radiology workflow such as radiology reporting, postprocessing and dose estimation, triaging, order scheduling, quality control of exams, detection and interpretation of findings, and support systems for clinical decision-making.

For all your radiology imaging needs, including innovative software solutions and superior medical-grade displays, contact our diagnostic imaging experts at Double Black Imaging. Our unparalleled customer service and highly knowledgeable staff set us apart from the competition, making us the first choice for all your imaging needs.

Source List:

https://www.radiologytoday.net/archive/rt0220p8.shtml
https://www.jacr.org/article/S1546-1440(18)30257-6/fulltext
https://www.diagnosticimaging.com/view/how-streamline-radiology-workflow
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6650448/
https://www.acr.org/Practice-Management-Quality-Informatics/Imaging-3/Case-Studies/Information-Technology/Closing-the-Gap
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6542626/
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/10/how-ai-will-change-how-radiologists-work/

15 May 2021

Ensuring and Measuring the Value of Radiology Imaging

Radiology Imaging Value

Showing radiology imaging value is easier said than done. That is because the term “value” has different meanings to the different stakeholders involved. Insurance providers and Medicare see value in diagnostic testing when patient results come back positive for a health condition, particularly if the condition is caught early and leads to reduced healthcare costs down the road.

For hospitals and clinics, measuring radiology imaging value includes the ability to obtain high-quality reliable images that reduce the amount of physician time required to make a diagnosis.

For a patient, the value in radiology imaging is in its ability to potentially save their life from a serious health threat, or to help identify a course of treatment so they can begin to feel better again.

So the question becomes which stakeholder’s definition of value is most important? And once this is determined, how can this “value” be measured?

The Complexities of Showing Value in Radiology Imaging

As Kruskal and Larson point out “The question is not whether radiology will survive, but rather what our role will be in the specialty and in the medical field going forward.” Because the term “value” is tied to healthcare costs for payers, radiologists face a number of potential changes to their profession that may not be of their choosing and which they may have little control over.

While technological advancements have resulted in improved capability to diagnose certain health conditions, as well as the ability to diagnose with improved accuracy, they have also driven up the cost of delivering these services. This has caused insurers and others to question the value some of these services offer.

With healthcare costs becoming an increasing financial burden for households and society as a whole, diagnostic imaging has become the scapegoat to blame for these ever escalating costs. In response to political pressure, payers are actively looking for ways to reduce these soaring expenses. Insurers see medical imaging as one area where they can significantly reduce healthcare costs going forward.

Different Types of Metrics

Due to the complex nature of radiology, several different types of metrics are used to monitor and measure performance. Some of the most common metrics in radiology include customer satisfaction, regulatory compliance, clinical productivity, academic productivity, and financial performance.

The key to selecting appropriate metrics that will actually measure what needs to be measured is in choosing indicators that closely align with an organization’s mission. When specific metrics are chosen keeping an organization’s mission in mind, improved service delivery and performance is more likely to be achieved.


  • Process Metrics

    Metrics that measure and provide an overview of the state of an organization’s processes or operations are known as process metrics. Some examples include:

    • Report turnaround time
    • Patient access time
    • Percentage of calls answered within a specified time frame
    • Percentage of biopsy results delivered to the primary care physician and the patient
    • Percentage of undictated cases at a specific number of days
    • Percentage of carotid imaging reports with distal internal carotid artery size as diameter
  •  


  • Outcome Metrics

    Outcome metrics measure the outcomes or clinical impact of an organization’s processes. Examples include measuring the percentage of:

    • Complications
    • Adequate biopsy tissue
    • Falls incidents in the radiology department
    • EVAR patients without major complications
    • Examinations with contrast media reactions
    • Patients with CVC insertion using sterile barrier technique
  •  


  • Volume-Based Metrics

    Radiology practices have historically used volume-based metrics to monitor their performance in patient care delivery in categories like efficiency, customer service, financial performance, and staff productivity. This includes:

    • Staffing efficiency
    • Report turnaround time
    • Equipment use and downtime rates
    • Patient access and wait times
  •  


  • PPACA-Based Metrics

    Since the Supreme Court decision to support passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), several new radiology metrics have been introduced.

    For example, the federal government has introduced initiatives such as the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) that encourages physicians to report quality measures that may result in financial penalties.

    In an attempt to control the rising cost of insurance premiums, insurers have implemented programs and contracts aimed at improving accountability and patient outcomes while reducing service costs.

    With the integration of hospitals and healthcare systems, radiology practices that contract with these systems are required to be accountable for some new performance metrics as well. These new metrics are found in categories such as subspecialty expertise, critical findings, turnaround time, use of voice recognition, peer review, and extended hours.

    National radiology professional societies such as the American College of Radiology (ACR) and the American Board of Radiology (ABR) are also working to develop metrics that radiology groups and departments must meet to receive modality and site accreditation or the Maintenance of Certification.

  •  


  • Value-Based Metrics

    More recent value-based metrics measure health outcomes achieved for every dollar spent. This is done by categorizing outcomes at the patient level that are disease specific and based on an overall “episode of care”, regardless of how complex a health episode may be. An episode of care is measured from the onset of symptoms to cure or death of the patient.

 

How Radiologists Can Improve Value-Based Metrics

 

Radiologists can begin to make the shift towards showing radiology imaging value by implementing the following steps:

  1. 1. Commit to continuous learning. Colleagues and other facilities and practices can be a rich resource of information if they have found better ways to work more efficiently and cost-effectively. Be willing to reciprocate and share your knowledge with others.

 

  1. 2. Understand the needs of your referring physicians. Find out what they would like to see improve or change about how you work and then figure out ways to make this happen.

 

  1. 3. Communicate Effectively. Make a point of calling your referring physicians when needed to discuss a patient’s care. Ensure reports are free of errors and unclear interpretations and are produced in a timely manner according to national guidelines.

 

  1. 4. Focus on teamwork. Build trusting collegial relationships with referring physicians to help improve the patient’s’ healthcare experience.

 

  1. 5. Champion the physician role. Radiologists are important stakeholders in the value equation. Offer to join committees and hospital boards and respond positively to feedback.

 

  1. 6. Critically reflect on how to improve your practice. Be willing to explore new ideas and systems that improve patient outcomes and workflows while reducing costs.

 

  1. 7. Collaborate with your IT department to improve workflows. Look for ways to put the needed systems in place to make it easier and faster to produce, read, share, and save reports and communicate about patients.

 

  1. 8. Proactively look for ways to use resources more efficiently. Identify ways to reduce repeat imaging, inappropriate recommendations, and safety related incidents. Look for ways to increase turnaround time and reduce negative patient experiences and feedback. Also, look for ways to demonstrate how the consultative and coordination of services roles in radiology reduce costs through saved physician time “downstream” in a patient episode.

 
Showing and measuring radiology imaging value may not be easy. However, it is essential moving forward as insurers and hospitals increasingly use value-based metrics as performance indicators tied to healthcare reimbursement.

At Double Black Imaging, we are committed to providing innovative imaging and workflow solutions. Our goal is to help providers significantly improve diagnostic imaging quality and stability while improving efficiency and reducing healthcare costs. Contact us to discuss ways to improve these performance metrics in your practice today.

Source List:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1546144018314595
https://www.radiologytoday.net/archive/rt0518p16.shtml
https://www.radiologybusiness.com/topics/quality/survey-radiology-quality-metrics-practices
https://pubs.rsna.org/doi/full/10.1148/rg.2015140221#tbl4
https://www.medicaltranscriptionservicecompany.com/aligning-radiology-metrics-with-the-goals-of-value-based-care/
https://www.diagnosticimaging.com/view/how-value-based-care-affecting-radiology
https://insightsimaging.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s13244-020-00941-z
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23025865/

20 Apr 2021

Prioritizing MRI Safety with Safe Imaging

The evolution of MRI safety has become more challenging than ever for radiologists, MR technologists, and referring physicians.

As Sammet explains” The increasing clinical demand for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) with its superior soft-tissue contrast compared to other radiological imaging modalities and potential physiological and functional applications has contributed to the installation of almost 30,000 MRI scanners worldwide.”

Combined with this is the rapid increase in the number of patients who have implants due to advancements in medical implant technology.

This growth in clinical demand and the number of MRI scanners installed has required that significantly more health professionals be educated about MR safety to protect patients, themselves, and others who may be exposed to the MR environment.

What Is MRI and What is it Used For?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a non-invasive imaging technology that produces detailed three-dimensional images of the body’s anatomy. The technology works by stimulating protons in the water of living tissues and then identifying how the protons’ rotational axis changes.

This is done by using extremely strong magnets that create a strong magnetic field forcing protons in the body to align with the magnetic field. By pulsing a radiofrequency current through the body, the protons are forced to spin out of balance as they strain against the pull of the magnetic field.

Then the radiofrequency is turned off allowing the protons to realign with the magnetic field which releases energy that the MRI sensors detect. How long it takes for the protons to realign with the magnetic field and the amount of energy released when this occurs differs depending on the chemical composition of the molecules and the environment. Using these measurements, physicians can identify the different types of body tissue.

Physicians use MRI to identify differences between healthy and unhealthy tissue in the body. It has become the preferred imaging procedure for diagnosing potential medical problems. Many body tissues can be assessed using MRI including the heart, blood vessels, internal organs, abdomen, pelvic area, brain, spine, breasts, and joints in the body.

How Safe is MR Technology?

Millions of MRIs are performed in the US each year. And according to the FDA, approximately 300 adverse events are reported from healthcare facilities, distributors, manufacturers, and patients related to these scans. Overall, this demonstrates the safety of MR technology for patients and healthcare personnel when the appropriate safety precautions are implemented and correct equipment is used.

Why Has MR Safety Become More Challenging and Complex?

MR technology has become increasingly complex not only because more scanners are being used and more procedures are being done, but also because scanners with higher field strengths are being developed and used in hospitals, institutions, and private practice.

In addition, radiologists are not required to have any formal training about MR imaging physics or MR safety concerns related to this form of imaging as Emanuel Kanal, MD, director of magnetic resonance services at the University of Pittsburgh explains.

The complexity and challenges related to MR safety are due primarily to three factors:


  1. The sophisticated technology that makes MR imaging possible

     

    The static magnetic field of an MRI machine is incredibly powerful. For example, a 1.5 T magnet exerts a magnetic force that is 21,000 times greater than the earth’s magnetic field. With this force, small metal objects such as hairpins and paper clips can be made airborne and move at speeds of up 40 mph into the machine, injuring a patient and anyone in the path of the flying object.

    Larger medical objects made of stainless steel such as scissors, hemostats, clamps, as well as oxygen tanks, metal gurneys and even floor buffing machines can become projectiles and injure people in the room as well.

    For this reason, all metal objects regardless of their size must be kept out and away from the room housing the MRI machine.

    Biological risks including cell growth and aberration and some reversible effects such as headaches, irritability, fatigue, and hypotension have been noted in human subjects exposed to static magnetic fields of 2.0 Tesla and above. Most MRI equipment currently produces fields less than 2.0 T which have not produced any known biological effects. However, the FDA recently approved the first 7 T MRI system for use in the US in October 2017 so these risks may now exist.

    One of the risks related to the radiofrequency (RF) field is the risk of current-induced thermal burns to the patient’s skin. This can occur if the RF field produces currents in wires that are near or attached to the patient. The RF field may also produce currents in intra-cardiac leads causing unintended cardiac pacing. Lengthy imaging procedures can also increase core body temperature although this is primarily a concern in infants.

    Cryogenic risk exists if the magnetic field is shut down accidentally or for planned maintenance. When this occurs, liquid helium inside the magnet begins to turn into a gas that may seep into the scanning room and displace oxygen leading to possible asphyxia of the occupants.


  2. Patient variably

     

    One of the greatest concerns about scanning patients is if they have implants, what material these implants are made of, and how these implants may react when exposed to the MR field. While the FDA allows manufacturers to market certain implants as “safe” for MR imaging “at or up to certain conditions under which they were tested”, MR environments are highly variable and may exceed these test parameters.

    According to Kanal, this variability may result due to different strengths of the MR energies at different positions in the MR scanner and scan room as well as at different positions throughout the patient’s body. And “How they vary can and do differ with different MR scanners and gradient coils and RF transmitting coils among varied scanners of the same or different MR manufacturers.”

    For these reasons, Kanal developed a smartphone app called MagnetVision that has all this information built in so it is able to calculate in real-time the effect of MRI on a particular implant, coil, MR scanner or patient.


  3. The increase in imaging procedures performed

    The rapid increase in MRI technology and software has also led to new imaging procedures being developed including multi-contrast imaging and lung imaging. With new procedures and technology come issues of safety that must be evaluated, documented, and communicated to those using this new technology with patients.

    When these potential MR safety issues are understood, proper safety protocols are followed, and the correct equipment is used, MRIs are safe and extremely effective in producing exceptional images that contribute to timely patient diagnosis and treatment.

    To meet our customers MR safety needs, Double Black Imaging offers two different sizes of MR Safe Displays that are fMRI compatible and provide a 2.3-megapixel color LED backlit display. They are available as 24-inch and 32-inch LCD displays to accommodate varying space constraints and bore sizes.

    Both LCD medical displays provide lag free output and no interference with the scanner even when positioned at the bore exit. Display specifications include an extraordinary spatial spatial uniformity of 2% over the central 75%, ultra-high brightness of 1000 cd/m2, and a contrast ratio of 1000:1 resulting in unparalleled MR image quality.

    At Double Black Imaging, we understand the challenges technicians and radiologists face in producing high quality images while keeping patient and healthcare personnel safety as their top priority. Contact us to learn how our MR Safe displays can help meet your practice’s imaging needs.

 

Source List:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4848040/
https://www.itnonline.com/article/recent-advances-mri-technology
https://www.nibib.nih.gov/science-education/science-topics/magnetic-resonance-imaging-mri
https://www.ismrm.org/resources/information-for-patients/
https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/mri/about/pac-20384768
https://www.fda.gov/radiation-emitting-products/mri-magnetic-resonance-imaging/benefits-and-risks
https://www.diagnosticimaging.com/view/qa-tackling-complexity-mr-safety
https://physicsworld.com/a/mri-safety-an-urgent-issue-for-an-increasing-crowd/
https://radiology.ucsf.edu/patient-care/patient-safety/mri/potential-hazards-risks
https://www.itnonline.com/content/fda-clears-first-7t-mri-system-magnetom-terra
https://www.itnonline.com/article/recent-advances-mri-technology

23 Mar 2021

WHY TRANSITION TO RADIOLOGY READING FROM HOME?

Radiology from Home

Since the widespread emergence of COVID-19 in North America in early 2020, remote radiology reading from home (also known as teleradiology) has seen a surge in popularity. Teleradiology refers to radiologists receiving images to interpret from a facility in a different geographical location than where the radiologist performs the reading. This may be in a country in a different time zone halfway around the world or in the radiologist’s home located just blocks from the hospital they are contracted with.

What’s the incentive to shift to remote radiology reading?

Social distancing requirements to help stop the spread of the virus during the pandemic has required a radical shift in how radiology is practiced in hospitals and healthcare centers.

Mohammed Imran Quraishi, MD, assistant professor of radiology at the University of Tennessee, and colleagues surveyed 290 geographically diverse institutions to determine how many sites were transitioning to teleradiology as a result of the pandemic. They received 174 responses and found a significant number of sites had radiologists installing workstations at home (65.2%) and a sizable movement to internal teleradiology (73.6%) to replace daytime shifts.

Beyond the safety related reasons for shifting to more remote radiology reading, performing radiology from home offers increasingly strong personal and economic incentives for physicians as well.

Jackson notes “When teleradiology first entered the industry as a career option, it was pigeon-holed into being an overnight service only. Radiology practices used teleradiology as a way to avoid overnight call. However, in recent years, reading images remotely has ballooned as a viable career option for radiologists who simply don’t want to work in hospitals or imaging centers.”

And if the increased flexibility of performing radiology from home is not enough to convince radiologists to consider working more at home both during and after the pandemic, the economic trends in the sector might be.

In February 2020, Grand View Research, an India & U.S. based market research and consulting company, reported the size of the global teleradiology market is expected to hit $10.9 billion USD by 2027. Growth in this sector is expected to be driven by a shortage of radiologists paired with an increased demand for imaging procedures.

The fastest growth is expected to occur in CT. This is due to quicker testing, widespread use, high-resolution image quality and the arrival of newer 4D generation systems.

In 2019, x-ray had the largest share of the teleradiology market due to its broad scope of application from identifying bone fractures to dental injuries. Increased demand for core diagnostics and imaging at the bedside combined with new technologies is predicted to drive growth even more.

    1. Flexible work
      Michael Yuz, MD, an executive radiologist with USARAD, a radiology-on-demand company points out, “As the opportunities have expanded, so have the positives that come with the work.” However, he is quick to point out that while radiologists working from home can choose their days and hours of work, they will not end up working less. In fact, he says it’s not unusual for radiologists working from home to work twice as many hours as their colleagues practicing in hospitals or imaging centers and to routinely put in 12-14 hour workdays.

 

    1. Better work-life balance
      Being able to choose what days and hours one works and the ability to work at home allows teleradiologists to have more freedom to decide where they want to live. It also allows them to spend more time with family and friends. This results in radiologists who are happier with where they work and live and as a result, they experience less work-related stress according to Michael Rothman, MD, a teleradiologist based in Bethlehem, PA. Quraishi et al. confirmed this in their study stating 64.8% of respondents who transitioned to working from home during the pandemic reported decreased stress levels. And this occurred while 96% of respondents found an improvement or no change in turnaround times for readings. Michael P. Recht, MD, Professor and Chairman of NYU Langone Department of Radiology “said he is ‘very much’ in favor of remote reading and noted that about one-quarter of his faculty took part in this practice—thanks to a wellness initiative—prior to COVID-19.” He says almost 70% of his radiologist staff have taken part in the program during the pandemic with these physicians experiencing improved work-life balance due to the increased autonomy and flexibility in their work.

 

    1. Ability to select a subspecialty
      As Yuz explains, most imaging facilities expect their radiologists to function as generalists. However, teleradiologists working from home have the ability to choose and focus on a subspecialty. They may still be required to perform some generalist work but they can also work within their chosen specialty as well. And depending on where they live, teleradiologists may be able to go into local hospitals and perform readings for hospital radiologists who lack experience in a particular subspecialty.

 

    1. Ability to select partners
      Physicians who transition to remote radiology reading also have the opportunity to choose what hospitals and imaging centers they partner and work with. This means being able to work with smaller or larger centers (depending on preference) as well as radiology centers offering imaging to patients in specific subspecialties the radiologist may want to focus in.

 

    1. Reduced dependence on external/contracted readings
      In the research by Quraishi et al., they also found that as more radiologists transitioned to working from home during the pandemic, many radiology practices saw a corresponding drop in the need for external or contracted readings. This finding was common across the U.S. as a result of fewer non-essential cases and lower case volumes overall.

 

 

What will you need to make remote radiology reading successful?

While performing radiology from home has its benefits and can be a very rewarding way to work in the profession, it can also be extremely frustrating and next to impossible without the right equipment and support.

    1. PACS equipment

      Not surprisingly, having up-to-date technology that is suitable for imaging and patient information security according to the ACR–AAPM–SIIM Technical Standard For Electronic Practice of Medical Imaging guidelines is a must. Most home workstations will require at minimum multiple diagnostic quality monitors, a microphone or dictaphone for speech recognition, and a computer with PACS access that is secure. An ergonomically designed workstation is an important feature to consider as well to help reduce fatigue and repetitive strain injuries.  Double Black Imaging has released teleradiology bundles that can be easily customized with CPUs and ergonomic workstations including seating.  Our configuration team ensures that each workstation is preconfigured and labeled for ease of use at the end user site.

 

    1. Fast internet connection

      Sammer et al. found an internet connection of 80 Mbps over the hospital VPN provided radiologists working at home on PACS workstations with nearly the same results as working in-house but noted that speeds decreased during peak work hours when more people were working from home. Speed was also reduced if the internet connection was being used by someone else concurrently at home. They reported internet speeds as low as 30-40 Mbps were “acceptable” but this resulted in noticeable lag while speeds of 200+ Mbps allowed for a “seamless experience”.

 

    1. HIPPA compliance

      To practice teleradiology, radiologists working from home must ensure they are working on a secure network to protect patient information and privacy. One important way to protect patient information when working remotely is via two-factor authentication when signing onto PACS at home. While it may take an extra couple seconds to do this, it’s essential to ensure patient data is not compromised.

 

    1. Integration of and access to patient information

      Radiologists working from home must have access to patients’ electronic medical records (EMRs). This includes access to previous imaging exams and reports.

 

    1. IT support and self-help instructions

      Having the right workstation setup and internet is essential. But it’s just the start of what’s required for radiology reading from home. Technology is great—when it works. When it doesn’t, radiologists working from home need access to 24/7/365 IT support when problems arise. As Matthew Hayes, a PACS manager at Radiology Partners explains “Aside from the IT infrastructure challenges required for at-home PACS, organizations need to consider who is going to troubleshoot problems. What if a head CT for a stroke protocol is taking 15 minutes to load? The radiologist needs to talk with someone quickly via a helpdesk. Even simple fixes such as HDMI connections can be solved ahead of time with simple, easy-to-read PDF instructions” he said.

 

    1. Licensing and legal support

      For physicians performing radiology from home, Yuz and Rothman explain radiologists may be working with many different hospitals and imaging practices across the country and even internationally. This will require licenses in all the states and countries a physician works with as well as legal representation to ensure liability coverage.

 

The diagnostic imaging experts at Double Black Imaging can help you select a home workstation that suits your needs and budget during COVID-19 and beyond. Contact our radiology display experts today with your questions. We’re eager to help any way we can.

Contact our diagnostic imaging experts

 

Source List:

https://collaborativeimaging.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-teleradiology/
https://www.healthimaging.com/topics/imaging-informatics/teleradiology-adoption-spiked-covid-19
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7245278/
https://www.diagnosticimaging.com/view/teleradiologist-experience
https://www.grandviewresearch.com/press-release/global-teleradiology-market
https://www.healthimaging.com/topics/imaging-informatics/remote-reading-radiologys-virtual-future
https://www.acr.org/-/media/ACR/Files/Practice-Parameters/Elec-Practice-MedImag.pdf
https://www.arrs.org/downloads/ajr/COVID-19-WFH.pdf
https://www.healthimaging.com/topics/conferences/remote-reading-here-stay-how-radiology-can-prepare-virtual-future