In 2023, we see familiar – and essential – service strategies for maximizing the return on investment (ROI) on medical imaging equipment:
Strengthen cybersecurity to keep operations flowing.
Establish a plan for the fastest possible resolution of issues that cause equipment downtime.
Maximize the use of available software features.
Strategy: strengthen cybersecurity through software upgrades
Unfortunately, healthcare organizations with their rich repositories of patient data have long been an attractive target for cyberattacks. In 2022, cybersecurity was listed as the most pressing technology issue facing healthcare organizations, according to the ECRI Institute.1
Medical imaging software that is not in synch with vendor upgrades can be vulnerable to hackers. This is why I strongly encourage our customers to start 2023 by migrating to our ImageView software to help close security vulnerabilities.
ImageView is our most secure medical device software. Built on Microsoft Windows 10, it has built-in “Secure by Design” elements such as intrusion protection and prevention. Secure log-in and patient privacy features help facilities maintain compliance with industry regulations. Additionally, Domain Authentication provides centralized user administration using site standards for security. This controls user identities and access with single sign-on. Carestream’s service team can assist you with upgrading your software to ImageView.
Strategy: maximize equipment uptime
Your X-ray rooms and mobile imaging equipment need to be up and running every hour of every day. It is important to be prepared to address the occasional service issue. Plan for faster resolution of issues in 2023 by adopting virtual troubleshooting and repair.
Carestream has been delivering monitoring, diagnosis and repair services remotely for several years. We first try to solve the problem remotely, connecting to your equipment to review settings, log files, and critical parameters of operation. With one secure connection, we can resolve issues quicker. More of our customers are embracing this model after they experienced its effectiveness during the pandemic when our service engineers were prevented from entering facilities.
We also are seeing increased adoption of proactive remote monitoring – to prevent issues before they happen. Leveraging the same secure connectivity we use for diagnosis and repair, we can do real-time analysis to keep systems running at top efficiency, and to identify and correct issues before they cause downtime.
Memorial Health of Springfield, Illinois has found that many site visits are avoided due to their use of Carestream’s SmartLink remote monitoring service. “With one easy connection, SmartLink remote monitoring allows Carestream engineers to detect and correct many issues before a problem can develop. This preventive service helps ensure high-level performance and continuous uptime,” says Marjorie King, the Director of Medical Imaging. (Read Memorial Health’s case study.)
Customers require fast turnaround times and that drives us to find quicker ways to service their equipment. We are exploring remote tools that will integrate further with advanced AI routines to make more timely and detailed predictions to help further minimize downtime. Also, we foresee advanced capabilities like augmented and virtual reality being embedded into our training and service offerings.
Strategy: maximize use of available software features
As we make site visits, we find that some of our customers are not making full use of their existing software features. They might not be aware of time-saving features like Modality Performed Procedure Step, Custom Configurations or Automated Workflow; or all the tools available to help capture diagnostic images at the highest quality possible. This oversight can be the result of some radiographers missing periods of training; or new staff members who were never fully trained on your equipment.
Start the new year off by assessing who in your department could benefit from more training. Then consider having your vendor provide new or refresh Applications Training for your staff. This is the most effective path for your radiographers to become proficient with equipment, maximize equipment capabilities, and decrease workflow time per patient. If scheduling technologist education is difficult, check with your local Carestream representative for options for a virtual software refresher.
Also ask your equipment supplier about new software features that can help streamline workflow, improve patient care, and/or lower costs. In 2022, Carestream introduced AI-based Smart features that take imaging exam workflow efficiencies to the next level. Our “Smart Room” has features to help optimize equipment positioning, patient positioning, and faster radiographer workflow. In addition to increasing patient throughput, these features can help improve image consistency, reduce retakes and enhance infection control.
If you are planning on purchasing imaging equipment in 2023, I suggest that you evaluate the supplier’s ability to continually deliver new capabilities and technologies like AI features and cybersecurity improvements that are critical to ensuring continued value of the solution. Also determine whether the manufacturer offers remote monitoring and repair services so you can take advantage of cost savings and quicker time to resolution.
This article was originally published on Carestream’s Everything Rad blog: 3 Service Strategies for Medical Imaging Equipment in 2023
1 https://www.ecri.org/press/ecri-names-cybersecurity-attacks-the-top-health-technology-hazard-for-2022 ECRI, an independent, nonprofit organization that provides technology solutions and evidence-based guidance to healthcare decision-makers worldwide Jan 18, 2022