This is the final installment in a 5-part series about optimizing multi-procedure imaging systems. Part 1 offered an overview of benefits. Part 2 detailed how these systems enhance the patient experience. Part 3 showed how they increase staff efficiency. Part 4 discussed how they boost hospital profits. In Part 5, we’ll reveal tips for successfully implementing multi-procedure imaging systems.
Multi-procedure imaging systems offer significant benefits, including enhanced patient experiences, better medical outcomes, increased staff efficiency and greater hospital profitability. The following tips can help hospitals implement multi-procedure imaging systems with success.
1. Invest in the right accessories
Spaces that accommodate multiple procedures must have diverse patient positioning capabilities. The right accessories help caregivers position patients safely and comfortably while granting access for imaging and treatment.
In addition, versatile attachments allow imaging suites to cater to multiple disciplines and caregiver preferences. A hybrid OR, for example, could be outfitted with rail extenders that hold attachments, and different attachments can be swapped out between procedures.
Accessories also enhance patient comfort and safety. For example, bariatric table extenders reduce fall risks for larger patients, while Mayfield and Doro adapters keep patients safely positioned during delicate procedures. Rolls, wedges and knee bolsters help patients rest comfortably, making it easier to remain still during imaging.
Some patient positioning aids, such as carbon fiber arm boards, are radiolucent. Radiolucency allows caregivers to obtain high-quality images at lower radiation levels.
Many accessories work with equipment manufactured by any vendor. Universal accessories foster efficiency – staff know the equipment inside and out, so they can quickly convert rooms for different procedures and instantly switch from imaging to therapy during procedures.
2. Prioritize major procedures first
Imaging systems represent substantial investments, so hospitals should prioritize major procedures when deciding which spaces to optimize first. Start with the most common and profitable procedures, then seek opportunities to reuse the equipment for less common, less profitable procedures.
For example, cardiac catheterizations might be a hospital’s most common procedure. The hospital could design a hybrid cath lab with a C-arm and fluoroscope. Heart caths could take priority in the lab, but interventional radiology could also use the space when available.
3. Develop a scheduling strategy
It’s no secret that there is a pecking order in hospitals. In a cath lab, for example, vascular surgeons might take priority over neurologists, who might take priority over interventional radiologists. Everyone wants to be “number one.”
Though optimized imaging suites offer greater flexibility, there is often competition for those spaces. In one example, a primary doctor had reserved a room. However, another physician decided to conduct a procedure over his lunch break, which frustrated the primary doctor because he couldn’t use the space he had reserved.
Hospitals can avoid similar issues with a thoughtful scheduling strategy. Plan spaces for like-service lines with overlapping procedures and equipment to keep volumes moving. Consider the best way to accommodate multiple departments and physicians, who must balance their time between the office, procedures and hospital rounds.
4. Optimize for similar disciplines
Though multi-procedure imaging systems offer significant benefits, there are some scenarios in which they’re not advantageous. It doesn’t make sense for a hospital to invest in a $2 million system and put it in a space shared by incompatible departments. For example, caregivers specializing in kidneys do not need fluoroscopy equipment in the OR.
Some disciplines are too different to be combined in the same suite. When procedures are vastly different, they need their own specialized equipment in their own spaces. Thus, it’s best to coordinate imaging suites to serve departments with overlapping needs.
5. Consider custom solutions
Hospital staff are innovative. For example, if there isn’t a good patient positioning solution on hand, they’ll use towels and other objects to achieve the positioning they need.
At the same time, hospital administrators are always pursuing innovation. As part of that, they seek ways to do multiple things with a single piece of equipment because it’s very cost-effective.
If a solution doesn’t exist for a specific application, hospitals can partner with manufacturers to develop custom solutions that meet their needs. Indeed, this is how many patient interface products are designed. Hospital staff approach manufacturers with a problem, and manufacturers work with them to engineer a solution.
Multi-procedure imaging systems can enhance patient experiences, improve staff productivity and maximize hospital ROI. Follow the tips outlined here to optimize imaging systems for multiple procedures and influence better outcomes for your hospital, staff and patients.