Over the last year or so every clinic, hospital, and healthcare organization had some big decisions to make regarding their X-ray technology: Whether to go Digital or take a reimbursement penalty?
With the Omnibus Bill in effect, starting in 2018 any healthcare facility that is offering X-ray services using old CR based or Film based technology will be subjected to a reimbursement penalty from Medicare. While some clinics did break-even analysis to determine if it made sense to upgrade, hospitals and large enterprise organizations knew they had to get all X-ray onto Digital before the end of 2017.
Valley Medical, now part of the University of Washington, had the same decision to make. They needed to retrofit 6 rooms with new Digital DR detectors and so the process began for them. They met with 10 + vendors who all presented their best offerings, but in the end they selected us, Core Medical Imaging, for two main reasons: Our technology was the best and our service proposal was the most cost-effective.
Earlier this year at the AHRA, Canon released the new 10’ series digital DR detector and it has been extremely successful. As you can see in the pictures below the new 10’ series features a lot of design improvements. The 10’ series are the lightest detectors on the market (14x17 model is 5.1 lbs.) and has a full carbon fiber frame to enhance durability. There are embossed handles with curved edges to improve ergonomics in mobile and emergency environments. It features an IPX 7 rating meaning it can withstand a drop in water up to 1 m. for 30 minutes. There are a lot more features to this system and you can learn about them here.
At Valley, our idea was to set up a detector in each X-ray room and pair it with a Canon DR Tablet (which was released at the RSNA in 2016). The Canon DR Tablet can directly communicate with the Canon Digital detector via AED—automatic exposure detection. This makes it very easy to retrofit existing systems, as there is limited integration required. To ensure this configuration would work, we spent a whole day doing wireless evaluations and noise tests in each room to ensure reliability and connectivity. Each room at the hospital had a slightly different configuration of equipment with different intentions of use. Internally, we used Microsoft teams to coordinate the efforts between sales, service, and applications to make sure every room in the hospital was addressed. Over the course of two weeks, we were able to install new 10’ series Canon Digital detectors in each of their rooms including their outpatient center, while training all the faculty on the new Canon NE software.
As with any installation, there are a few lingering issues that we have since worked out. The head of BioMed at Valley Medical, Emmet Drazic, was instrumental throughout this process. Not only did he help us during the sales process but he was on standby throughout the installation to make sure things went smoothly.
The second reason Valley Medical chose to go with us at Core was our approach to Service. The configuration in each room went like this: Canon Digital 10’ series detector, Canon DR Tablet, Tablet Docking Station, and additional accessories. The only two components of a room that could have issues would be the detector itself and the tablet.
So what did we do: we gave them an additional detector and tablet as back up. With the idea, that if a tablet has an issue they can switch out the tablet with an extra and work on the problematic tablet without interrupting workflow. For a detector itself, the main issue is dropping the detector. So rather than setting them up with a traditional service contract, we just set them up with a very cost-effective drop coverage program. If they drop a detector, then they can easily swap that out with a replacement. Then to bring everything full circle, we set up Emmet with a weeklong Canon training course.
So going forward, Valley Medical has all the equipment they need, they have the drop coverage on all of the detectors, and they have an internally trained service engineer who can handle end user issues and complete regular PM’s to maintain the equipment.
Overall, this was a very exciting project for Core. We have worked with other University of Washington affiliated hospitals and we are glad to be working with another facility that offers great patient care. This is our first multi-detector project with the new Canon 10’ series detectors and Valley Medical is our first customer with this new approach to service. When things are brand new, there are always things you learn after the fact. We now have experience with the Canon 10’ series and the tablets in a large hospital environment and we feel very confident that we can provide this set up for our other customers.