When it comes to reading rooms, perfection exists in the convergence ofscience and personal preference. Many factors, such as the distancefrom your eye to the monitors, aren’t in dispute; for others, such asthe type of chair, ideal room temperature and reading position arepersonal to individual radiologists. An environment that mergesessential ergonomics with individual needs creates the perfect readingroom with more comfortable, less stressed, more productive radiologists.
In the drive towards increased efficiencies, either implementing or upgrading automated physician reporting systems is a major goal for many imaging facilities. From computerized provider order entry (CPOE) to cardiovascular information systems practices and clinical departments are bringing new technology online designed to automate as much as possible of the physician reporting process. But to make it work, you’ve got to get your physicians on board.
PET/CT and SPECT/CT are helping to detect and diagnose coronary artery disease in women earlier and better. Previously under-diagnosed or misdiagnosed altogether particularly in women, new exams are effectively assessing myocardial perfusion, offering an alternative to nuclear stress tests that often lead to false positive results in women. Fewer attenuation artifacts also mean sharper images.
Although declining reimbursement led to a fall in sales of 64-slice CT scanners in 2007, practices with sufficient volume can still make their technology investment pay off, thus bringing marketing to the fore in the battle to maintain or increase market share. Despite the decline in sales, 64-slice scanners are still selling, and with recent innovations in the field — such as Toshiba’s Aquilion ONE, a dynamic volume CT with 320 detector rows with 0.5mm elements — the challenge for both new and established practices is keeping the cardiac CT scanner busy enough to at least break even.
No more missing films. No more empty file jackets. And no more wastedoffice space crammed full of x-ray films, folders, chemicals andprocessors. And that’s just the icing on the cake: the overallimprovements in practice efficiencies and patient care, along with aquick return on investment are among the concrete benefits of adoptingan orthopedic picture archiving and communications system (PACS) tostore and retrieve digital x-ray images via a computed radiography (CR)system.
With the sharp surge in digital mammography system implementations,mammography CAD is riding the curve, too. This “second set of eyes”that helps to confirm radiological findings in mammograms, makes sensefrom both a cost perspective and the potential it offers to detect morebreast lesions, according to many radiologists.
Insurers and the government may not be on board, but the medical community sure is: when it comes to improving patient care, cardiac CT is a must-have technology. But depending on the size and scope of your practice, department or hospital, the business case is a little less clear. Clouding the picture are uneven reimbursement rates across the country, the steep learning curve toward reading proficiency and the expense of the equipment and third-party advanced visualization software.