Radiography Untethered

Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media , December 13, 2010
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Take a look at the phone on your desk. If its cord is tangled, twisted, and bunched up, you have an idea what radiologists deal with when they use tethered imaging devices.

"That sucker winds up," says Bill Broaddus, director of radiology services at the 383-bed Central Baptist Hospital in Lexington, KY, which uses two Siemens Ysio wireless radiograph machines. But frustration with twisty, bunchy cords is just one reason hospitals might consider the switch to wireless radiology equipment.

Easier, faster, safer
Healthcare imaging has come a long way from the days of plastic film, wet processing, and long waits for results. Digital radiography—wired or wireless—offers speedier results and better image quality.
Wireless devices take convenience and efficiency a step further, Broaddus says. "We can take that plate and put it on the floor, under the bed, and under the patient. We can put it on a stool and let the patient put their leg or arm up on it or pull the table bucky out and use it there," Broaddus says.

And wireless devices beam images directly to the picture-archiving and communication system, allowing the clinician to view and analyze results, share them with other physicians, and determine whether they need to repeat a test—while still in the room with the patient.

The ability to review digital images instantly and without leaving the exam room to process CR plates has "greatly improved" efficiency, says Janine Hatch, superintendent radiographer at Portsmouth Hospitals, a two-hospital system in the United Kingdom. "Digital radio-graphy [allows us to see] more patients during the working day," she says. Positioning presets for most examinations saves time, as well, she said.

 Another benefit: Wires from devices of any kind are no longer a safety issue. Wires can trip up patients and clinicians. And those wires often drag on the floor and then come in contact with patients, putting them at greater risk of infection.

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