Category: Ergonomic Workstations

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.

 

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.

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

24 Feb 2021

Section 179 Tax Deduction

Section 179 Tax DeductionTax time will be here before you know it. Now is a good time to start pulling together your business expenses and documentation from this past year to ensure you are capitalizing on all the tax deductions you are entitled to as a business owner. The Section 179 tax deduction is an important tax saver for business owners that should not be overlooked.

This deduction can and does change from year to year (and has even changed within a tax year). Therefore, it is important to be aware of your deduction limit each year including the bonus depreciation which may also change depending on the tax year.

What is the Section 179 Tax Deduction?

The Section 179 tax deduction is a section of the IRS tax code originally designed to provide incentives and tax relief for small businesses although large businesses may also benefit from this deduction.

Section 179 “allows businesses to deduct the full purchase price of qualifying equipment and/or software purchased or financed during the tax year. That means that if you buy (or lease) a piece of qualifying equipment, you can deduct the FULL PURCHASE PRICE from your gross income.” This U.S. government incentive is designed to encourage businesses to buy the equipment they need while investing in themselves and their businesses.

Who Qualifies for the Section 179 Tax Deduction?

For the 2020 tax year, the good news is all businesses that finance, lease, or purchase used or new equipment outright totaling less than $3,630,000 should qualify for the Section 179 deduction.

More specifically, $1,040,000 of business assets qualify for the complete Section 179 deduction in 2020. That amount is reduced dollar for dollar when the amount of qualified assets used for business purposes reaches $2,590,000.

What Requirements Must Be Met to Claim the Section 179 Deduction?

Any equipment, vehicles, or software claimed as a tax deduction under Section 179 that is used for both personal and business purposes (such as cell phones for example) must meet the “More Than 50 Percent Business-Use” requirement. This means that the equipment, vehicles, or software being claimed must be used for business purposes more than 50% of the time that it is used for it to qualify for the Section 179 tax deduction.

What Equipment Qualifies for the Section 179 Deduction?

The following equipment “generally” qualifies for the Section 179 deduction and may be new or used—however it must be “new” to you as a business owner for it to be claimed as a deduction. It must also be purchased (and used) between January 1 and December 31 of the tax year in which you are wanting to claim it as a tax deduction against your business. The term “purchased” includes equipment you have leased, financed, or purchased outright with your own funds.

Equipment that generally qualifies includes:

  • •Machines and a variety of equipment purchased for business use such as computers and “off-the-shelf” computer software.
  • •Equipment purchased and used for business and personal use (the section 179 tax deduction is based on the percentage of time you use this equipment for business purposes).
  • •Office equipment and furniture.
  • •Different types of tangible personal property used for business purposes.
  • •Specific types of improvements to existing non-residential buildings such as roofing improvements, fire suppression installations, security and alarm systems, and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning improvements.
  • •Non-structural equipment and property attached to the building where you do business.
  • •Vehicles used for business purposes (gross vehicle weight must exceed 6,000 lbs).

 

What’s the Difference Between Section 179 and Bonus Depreciation?

Bonus depreciation is taken after the Section 179 deduction is applied. Bonus depreciation usually benefits larger businesses that exceed the spending cap for new capital equipment in a given tax year (currently $2,590,000 for 2020).

It is also important to note that bonus depreciation is not offered every tax year. However, it is available for the 2020 tax year at a rate of 100%.

The most notable change for bonus depreciation in 2020 is that it may be applied to both new and used equipment, as long as the equipment is new to the business owner. This is a change from previous years in which bonus depreciation could only be applied to new equipment.

Businesses that experience a net loss this past year still qualify to deduct some of the cost of the equipment they purchased and then they may carry-forward the remaining loss to the following tax year. Similarly, if a business has no taxable profit during this current tax year, it may carry forward the loss experienced on equipment purchases to the subsequent tax year.

Is There a Way to Maximize My Tax Savings with Section 179?

Yes there is! One of the best ways to maximize your tax savings in 2020 is to lease or finance equipment purchases according to the Section 179 Qualified Financing rules. This is because as a business owner, you will only have to make the required lease or financing payments for the equipment during the year. However, you are entitled to deduct the full purchase price of the equipment you purchased in 2020, regardless of whether it is new or used.

In effect, financing or leasing equipment and then taking the full Section 179 tax deduction can easily help business owners save more money in taxes than they spent in finance or lease payments throughout the year.  Double Black Imaging offers a variety of leasing and financing solutions for our display systems, ergonomic workstations and CPU options!

Is It Possible to Preserve the Cash Flow in My Business and Still Take the Section 179 Deduction?

Absolutely! This has been and continues to be a year filled with uncertainty. Protecting cash flow for unanticipated expenses is a wise business idea. As discussed above, choosing to purchase equipment by leasing it can also put more tax dollars back in your business.

To keep lease payments as low as possible to preserve cash flow, consider asking about a non-tax capital lease. This type of lease will allow you to make smaller payments, protect your cash flow, and allow you to write-off the full price of the equipment you purchased up to the deduction limit— all while making the smallest payments possible.

How Do I Calculate My Potential Savings Using Section 179 on My Next Purchase?

That’s a great question. Fortunately, Section 179.org has an easy calculator that can help you estimate your potential savings if you are considering buying equipment this year.

To give you an idea of just how significant the tax and equipment savings can be for a business owner, Section 179.org provides this example:

“Using a $75,000 equipment cost for a sample calculation shows how taking advantage of the Section 179 Deduction can significantly lower the true cost of the equipment purchased, financed or leased. In our example, $75,000 in equipment purchased has a true cost of $48,750. That’s $26,250 saved. Would you like an extra “25 grand-plus” this year on equipment you needed anyway?”

How Do I Ensure I Get the Section 179 Tax Deduction?

It is important to know you must elect to take the Section 179 tax deduction for business equipment you have purchased, leased, or financed during the calendar year. It is NOT automatically applied to your tax return.

To elect to take the Section 179 deduction, complete Part 1 of Form 4562 from the IRS and attach it to your tax return. Or speak with your tax preparer and tell them you want to elect to take the Section 179 deduction.

In addition, the Section 179 deduction is taken on an “item-by-item” basis. Therefore, you can choose to claim the deduction for only some of the equipment and/or software you purchased and not all of it if you choose.

Can You Use Section 179 Every Tax Year?

Yes, the Section 179 tax deduction can be used for business expenses and depreciation every year that you incur these expenses in your business. However, it is important to keep in mind that changes are made to Section 179 every year, and sometimes throughout the year. Therefore, be sure to stay informed about these tax code changes, what equipment, property, and improvements qualify, and what deductions you might be entitled to.

Be sure to speak to your tax preparer if you are not sure what deductions you are entitled to or prior to making large equipment or software purchases for your business to determine the most tax efficient way to do this.

Double Black Imaging provides business owners with medical displays for PACS, monitors, and software as well as ergonomic workstations that qualify for the Section 179 deduction. Contact us at (844) 879-2247 with your business needs today and be sure to tell our diagnostic imaging specialists you want your purchase to qualify for the Section 179 deduction.

Contact our diagnostic imaging experts

 

Source List:

https://www.section179.org
https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-dft/i4562–dft.pdf
https://www.crestcapital.com/section_179_bonus?_ga=2.120781388.519583165.1608581164-847429404.1608581164

09 Dec 2020

Sedentary Nature in Radiology

The occupational hazards of radiology are well known: exposure to radiation, splashes with contrast media, bodily fluid exposure, and stress to name a few. Another less recognized danger for those in the profession is the sedentary nature of the work.

It’s estimated that diagnostic radiologists spend more than 8 hours a day sitting at their computers and workstations. Understanding how the sedentary nature in radiology affects a radiologist’s health and the quality of their work is important for preventing health issues and optimizing patient care. Knowing how to reduce the risks related to this workplace hazard is also important so those working in the profession know how to protect themselves.

 

What Is a Sedentary Lifestyle or Career?

The U.S. Department of Labor defines sedentary work as “exerting up to 10 pounds of force occasionally or a negligible amount of force frequently to lift, carry, push, pull, or otherwise move objects, including the human body. Sedentary work involves sitting most of the time, but may involve walking or standing for brief periods of time. Jobs may be defined as Sedentary when walking and standing are required only occasionally and all other Sedentary criteria are met.” By this definition, most of the work performed in radiology meets this criteria.

Researchers confirm this stating most image interpretation done by diagnostic radiologists is sedentary with radiologists sitting at a computer workstation to perform this work.

 

How Being Sedentary Affects Quality of Work and Radiologists’ Health

The sedentary nature in radiology contributes to stress which has been shown to decrease job satisfaction and lead to poor mental health outcomes. However, it’s also thought that stress associated with sedentary radiology work may contribute to poor workstation ergonomics. This may lead to an array of work-related musculoskeletal injuries that 30%-60% of radiologists report such as eyestrain, neck & back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and headaches.

And experts like Rebecca L. Seidel, MD agree that correct ergonomics are essential for the productivity, performance, and well-being of radiologists.

The risks of a primarily sedentary lifestyle for the general population are well-known and include health problems that carry high risks of morbidity and mortality such as:

  • •Hypertension
  • •Obesity
  • •Diabetes

Other diseases attributable to a sedentary lifestyle include cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer with even higher mortality rates resulting from these diseases as sedentary behavior increases.

In fact, researchers point out that being sedentary contributes to all causes of mortality—not just those listed above. And this increased mortality risk exists even in those who engage in physical exercise regularly outside of their sedentary jobs. Excessive time spent sitting or in minimal movement is believed to contribute to a slower metabolism and many of the negative effects mentioned above.

 

How Radiologists Can Improve Health at Work

While a significant amount of a diagnostic radiologist’s job is sedentary, there are things that can be done to mitigate the health risks of sitting for prolonged periods of time. Experts studying the sedentary behavior in radiology suggest radiologists can improve their health by understanding and applying the concept of NEAT to their work.

The acronym NEAT refers to “nonexercise activity thermogenesis”. It includes activities of daily living that require energy for the body to perform such as walking, standing, sitting, and fidgeting. NEAT excludes sleeping, eating, and sports or fitness activities.

The concept of NEAT was studied by Levine et al. to determine whether or not fidgeting-like activities could counteract weight gain in sedentary adults who were overfed. Surprisingly, they discovered even low energy expenditure fidgeting activities were effective in maintaining metabolic rate and deterring weight gain in study subjects.

Fidgeting-like activities that radiologists could incorporate into their work that have been shown to increase energy expenditure significantly and reduce the negative effects of prolonged motionless sitting include using a mouse at the computer, typing, and tapping one’s foot.

In addition to making these relatively small changes, researchers suggest there are other things radiologists can do to increase NEAT and help ward off chronic health problems related to being sedentary.

Some of these things include:

1.  Drink more water

Drinking enough water has a number of health benefits. Water is needed for several important bodily functions. It also helps suppress appetite and control weight gain. Eating more foods with a higher water content can help reduce caloric intake and result in increased satiety after eating. To incorporate more activity with higher water consumption, use a small water bottle so you’re required to get up and refill it often.

2.  Consider standing to perform some work

Researchers found that standing motionless or standing and fidgeting also increases NEAT significantly compared to sitting motionless or fidgeting while seated. Most PACS workstations can be elevated which allows some reading and dictating to be done while standing. It’s also important to add some of the fidgeting-like activities mentioned earlier while standing since this significantly increases energy expenditure compared to standing motionless. However, it’s also important to keep in mind that periods of prolonged standing may lead to venous stasis and back pain so it’s best to keep moving and avoid any one position for too long.

3.  Walk more throughout the day

The benefits of walking are well-known and include increased calorie expenditure. Consider communicating about a patient with a colleague in your facility face-to-face rather than via phone or email. In addition to ensuring better communication, you’ll be taking care of your own health. Taking short breaks from radiological workstations has also been shown to help one stay focused, reduce eyestrain, and calm the mind.

4.  Perform some simple exercises at your workstation

Incorporate some simple exercises throughout the day at your workstation such as neck rolls, side stretches, seated spinal twists, and leg lifts. These basic exercises have been shown to reduce fatigue and decreases in metabolism while increasing NEAT expenditure and only take a couple minutes to complete.

5.  Include a variety of calorie-burning activities in your workday

Although the following activities haven’t been studied specifically with radiologists or in relation to radiology reading rooms, researchers suggest radiologists consider incorporating some of these activities into their workday to keep metabolism elevated and help reduce the likelihood of chronic diseases associated with being sedentary.

  • •Increase fiber intake which is associated with increased and prolonged satiety and reduces the incidence of obesity, hypertension, diabetes, coronary artery disease, and stroke.
  • •Be mindful of your caloric intake versus energy expenditure.
  • •Avoid eating 2 hours before bed when you’ll be more sedentary.
  • •Try to get 7-9 hours of restful, uninterrupted sleep at night since 4 hours of sleep or less over a prolonged period of time is associated with reduced metabolism.
  • •Set the timer on your phone or smart watch as a reminder to get up and stretch or move for the last 5 minutes of each hour.
  • •Consider tracking your activity level such as your daily steps as well as your food and water intake on a smart device such as your phone or smart watch. Make small improvements each day.

6.  Explore radiology room fitness workstations

Treadmills and elliptical machines are no longer equipment found only in fitness facilities. The benefits of incorporating this kind of equipment at standing workstations include an energy expenditure 200% greater than standing at rest. These machines are designed to be quiet enough for use in reading rooms and work well for home offices too. While cost and having adequate space to accommodate equipment may be a concern, installing even a single treadmill workstation that staff can rotate through may help reduce time sitting and provide staff with healthier ways to work.

 

Why Work With Double Black Imaging to Build a Healthier Workstation?

Double Black Imaging is proud to be known for its exceptional and unparalleled customer service in addition to our high standards that exceed other industry providers. We use advanced technology combined with the latest research to design innovative and reliable medical displays, ergonomic workstations, and software solutions to help make imaging more efficient and reduce healthcare costs.

At Double Black Imaging, our specialists will work with you to create the perfect workstation that takes into consideration your health as well as cost and space constraints. Contact us today at (844) 879-2247.

Contact our diagnostic imaging experts

 

Source List:

https://www.wajradiology.org/article.asp?issn=1115-3474;year=2018;volume=25;issue=1;spage=28;epage=33;aulast=Ogenyi

https://www.ajronline.org/doi/10.2214/AJR.15.15496

https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/owcp/dfec/regs/compliance/owcp-5c.pdf

https://www.radiologytoday.net/archive/rt0620p14.shtml

https://www.unm.edu/~lkravitz/Sports%20Physiology/SedentaryLifestyle.pdf

https://pubs.rsna.org/doi/full/10.1148/rg.2018180030

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6857261/

https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/72/6/1451/4729468

23 Oct 2020

Different Types of Ergonomic Radiology Workstations

With the radiology technology developing at breath-taking speed, the number of images viewed daily has increased in radiology departments. This has led to several workplace-based problems such as repetitive stress injuries, visual problems, headaches, and musculoskeletal problems in radiologists, who spend a lot of time at their workstations. With 58% of radiologists reporting symptoms of repetitive stress injury and many spending over eight hours a day at their desks, it is vital to ensure that workstations are set up correctly to avoid these types of health problems.

Double Black Imaging offers a wide range of ergonomic workstation options to fit your working environment. The expert technicians consider available space, adjustment patterns, ambient lighting, and other aspects to make customized recommendations.

 

Ergonomic fixed-height desks

Ergonomic Fixed-Height DeskA fixed-height desk is a cost-effective option of setting up an ergonomic workstation. Double Black Imaging’s customizable options allow you to design your workstation according to the ergonomic parameters that match your needs and workflow.

With the ability to add unlimited accessories, you can easily create an ergonomic workstation at less cost than a sit-stand workstation. Although not as universally ergonomic as a sit to stand station, any fixed height desk can be converted to a sit-stand workstation with the new Workfit-TX. Users can also enhance their physical support with the Verte Radiology Chairs to maximize comfort and reduce back and neck pain.

 

Electric sit to stand workstations

Sit to Stand Radiology WorkstationSit to stand workstations ensure the comfort of the radiologist. Ergonomically developed to allow radiologists to move and change positions, they are designed to promote health and wellbeing. Although initially more costly than a fixed desk, they can be quickly adjusted to fit the needs of every user, meaning that they are suitable for the whole team. Double Black Imaging’s range of sit to stand workstations have been designed to support the heavy load of all the monitors and accessories required in a radiology department.

From the innovative Phoenix Tilting Ergonomic Workstation to the popular classic, the Sit & Stand Station, you are sure to find the workstation that will enhance your health, your workflow, and your diagnostic capabilities with Double Black Imaging.

 

Wall mounts

Radiology Monitor Wall MountIf you are looking for a space-saving, cost-effective option in your radiology department then a wall mount may be the option for you. Height adjustable, with the ability to add keyboards and dual monitors, they are one of the least expensive options to consider. Quick and easy to install, a range of configurations are available from Double Black Imaging.

 

Medical carts

Medical Monitor Wheeled CartsThe benefit of a medical computer cart is portability. Compact and mobile, you can move a medical computer cart with you as required. It is important to remember that a medical cart cannot hold as many monitors as a static desk and is not as ergonomic. However, it provides you with a low cost, mobile, and space-saving workstation option.

 

Additional workstation options to consider. 

When setting up a workstation, there are several additional options to consider.

  • Wellness screens are a protective barrier that helps prevent the spread of germs. Made of clear acrylic, these screens are easy to clean and sanitize.
  • • Double Black Imaging offers several soundproofing systems to reduce volume, increase privacy and productivity in the radiology reading room.
  • • The problem with a radiology workstation is that it holds many monitors and electronics, meaning many cables. A cable management system discreetly collects your cables and cords in a single, tidy place.
  • • To ensure your radiology workstation is fully functional, consider which of the following accessories you may need to incorporate: monitor mounts, cable management, CPU storage, USB charging station, lighting, height-adjustable control, and multi-level work surfaces.

 

Deciding on the correct radiology workstation can be a daunting prospect. Double Black Imaging offers an onsite radiology equipment survey to assess what workstation will be best for you. Our engineers treat each workstation as an individual solution to provide you with specific recommendations for each surveyed workspace. With years of experience, the team develops recommendations based on industry best practices and insider-knowledge of PACS, mammography/tomography, clinical, and surgical applications.

Contact our diagnostic imaging experts today to discuss your radiology department requirements.

Contact our diagnostic imaging experts