Healthcare… Why are we in this business?

Doctor with patient using CT scan

What is it that drives someone to want to be in healthcare? Is it the humanity, knowing you are contributing to a family having more knowledge in their loved one’s health issues? Could it be the money? Markets show an industry increase of over 800 billion for 2021. With so much growth, this must mean you can make a lot of money, right?

 

Whether your reasons are purely altruistic or not, we all share one thing in common. WE DO IT!

 

For me, healthcare has been a passion of mine since I was 18, when my father passed away from pancreatic cancer. During his treatment, I remember the feeling of complete helplessness. I can recall thinking to myself, what can I do to make a difference. It took some years, but I found my spot in healthcare.

 

My first venture into healthcare was as a Field Service Engineer (FSE), repairing medical equipment all over the US. My new venture provides a solution to hospitals. This enables hospitals to maintain the same level of care while their CT is being repaired or replaced. In some cases, it offers a hospital an inexpensive alternative to building a new hospital suite. At the end of the day, I know I am doing what I was intended to do, help patients obtain answers.

 

Misconceptions in CT Imaging

Patient Awareness Drives CT Scan Needs | Catalina Imaging

With over  40 years of clinical experience in diagnostic imaging and the last 18 as a vendor CT Clinical Application Specialist, I have noticed some common misconceptions among CT Technologist which I would like to discuss. Misconceptions, which if not understood can lead to higher than necessary patient exposure as well as a degradation in CT image quality. There are also misconceptions about terminology which I hope to clear up as each vendor has their own specific terminology for processes in CT which mean the same thing, such as scout, pilot and topogram just to make a simple one.

 

It doesn’t matter how a patient lies down on the CT couch.

 

Patients should be carefully positioned at gantry isocenter. So many times while conducting CT application training, I have observed technologist not carefully or properly positioning patients on the CT couch to isocenter within the gantry. This is so imperative for a couple reasons. Number one being the x-ray exposure to the patient and number two being image quality.

The X-ray exposure to the patient is calculated from the AP and Lateral scout views, along with many other scanning and reconstruction factors, determined by the system software. The patient needs to be positioned at gantry isocenter because this is where the computer will read the density of the anatomy being imaged (notice I did not say patient size!). Tube Current modulation in modern CT systems offer offer a modulation scheme which includes adjustment of the mA in an X and Y direction or angular, as well as Z axis or longitudinal mA modulation. This type of mA modulation adjusts the exposure to the size and shape of the patient’s anatomy, which will result in the proper exposure for the requested image quality setting within the imaging protocol, the noise value. If the patient is too high in the scan field of view or too low in the scan field of view, the exposure software reading the scout images will make an incorrect assessment of anatomical densities. Too high in the scan field of view will lean to a higher CT exam exposure to the patient. Conversely, to low in the scan field of view will lead to a CT exposure which is too low to maintain the image quality setting within the scan parameters. Scan field of view choices should be selected based on the patient’s body habitats and the patient carefully positioned within the scan field to gantry isocenter. If the patient is not correctly positioned in the scan field of view within the system gantry, both X-ray exposure and image quality will be affected.

 

This is also because of the bow-tie filter incorporated in the system, which is chosen automatically with the scan field of view. The purpose of a bow-tie filter is to attenuate the X-rays at the elliptical skin surface of the patient and thus reducing exposure to those areas. A patient positioned in an off center lateral or vertical direction will lose the advantages of the bow-tie filter.

The source to image receptor distance in CT systems is a constant which does not change. The X-ray source to gantry isocenter is also a constant. The variable is with patient positioning either being too high relative to gantry isocenter or too low. An increase of the object to detector distance will result in a proportional increase in magnification of the radiographic image. Since in CT, data is collected for image reconstruction from 360 degrees of angulation around the patient, the patient must be properly positioned to avoid image distortion within the reconstruction process.

 

Image reconstruction has no effect on patient exposure.

 

Modern CT system have some very intuitive exposure control systems which take into account not only the size, positioning and density of the patient being scanned, they also look at noise levels within an image data set, reconstruction algorithms and reference or reconstruction slice widths.

A noise level or standard deviation, is set in the scan parameters which exposure control systems use to calculate how much the mA can modulate through the scan range while maintaining the specific noise level or standard deviation within the reconstructed data set for the reference slice width. This sets the signal to noise ratio for the scan. Reference slice width or a reconstruction slice width also plays a part because thinner slice widths are inherently noisier than thicker slice widths and therefore would require the system to put out more energy (signal) to maintain the set noise level in a thinner reconstructed slice width.

Reconstruction algorithms also effect patient exposure when using automated exposure controls because some reconstruction algorithms are much more edge enhancing than others. Reconstructions such as lung or bone to use extreme examples. Other subtle differences in reconstruction algorithms may be experienced by using the reconstruction algorithms of a particular vendors system. For the same body region, say soft tissue for example, you may see different algorithm choices. Some more sharp some more smooth, some with more or less contrast and some with larger or smaller grain size depending on the likes of the reading radiologist. Depending on your system, these reconstruction choices may be built within an exposure control default setting, or on an exposure control tab or an image reconstruction tab which the technologist sets prior to scanning the patient. This varies by vendor and vendors software advances which automates the exposure control systems.

All CT vendors will provide application support to your facility with the purchase of a new system. As the system is being used by many technologist over its years of use it may have been modified away from the manufacturers default settings, thus negatively affecting patient exposure and image quality. Scheduling an applications visit from a qualified specialists should take place periodically and is just as important as routine system maintenance.

There are other considerations when employing a mobile CT solution at a facility. Mobile CT systems are moved from facility to facility, and the scanning and reconstruction parameters set on the system could have been set by some well-meaning but very uninformed technologist. As the user of a mobile system there should be some insistence that the service engineer setting up the mobile unit reinitialize the system defaults and scanning protocols so you are starting off with an imaging system scanning as designed by the manufacturer. Not doing so, is to rely on the staff using the system prior to arriving at your facility to have set it up correctly, which most likely, (and in my experience) will not be the case. Using a system which is not optimized to the manufacturers specifications can lead a facility to false impressions regarding a given vendor or equipment. Radiologist may complain regarding image quality or have issues with patient exposure, so it’s always a good idea to have the system properly set up. If you are using a mobile CT solution on a temporary basis while a new system is being installed at your facility, it would be beneficial to your staff to have a system from the same vendor as the system being installed. This will assist the staff with learning the new system operating software, should you be switching CT vendors. This gives your staff a leg up on the transition. Have the mobile company supply a few days of application support to assure your staff technologist and physicians are happy with the system operation and to train staff with building scanning protocols, raw data reconstruction, MPR and any other post processing necessary for your facility. It is important that the person doing the training is very qualified, and familiar with the selected mobile system.

 

Automatic generation of coronal and sagittal data sets.

 

Positioning the patient properly will give an improvement of image quality with symmetry to the axial plane, and the correct automatic generation of coronal and sagittal views.

Modern CT scanners have the ability to improve technologist workflow by allowing for the automatic generation of coronal and sagittal views within a scanning protocol. These views however are actually generated in a reconstruction slice width and interval from the top of the display field of view to the bottom of the display field of view and we call these images coronal views when the patient is lying supine on the CT couch. The same is true of the sagittal image data set. It is re-constructed from right to left or left to right depending on how the protocol is determined. However, these views are only true direct coronal or true direct sagittal image data sets when the patient is properly positioned on the CT couch and properly aligned to the laser positioning lights. So many times patients are positioned and scanned on the couch in a slight oblique and/or rotated plane. This leads to sub optimal image data sets being sent to a radiologist who then must make a diagnosis for the patient. Since it takes only a few minutes to make sure that the patient is properly positioned and aligned to the laser positioning lights, all CT technologist should not avoid this important preliminary step. Proper patient positioning is necessary for assuring the right exposure to the patient, and the best image quality for the radiologist. It is important to remember that a technologist should always ask the patient for permission to touch them and explain why prior to moving the patient to align them with the positioning lasers.

 

Higher kVp, is it better for CT Angiography, CTA?

 

When performing CT angiographic studies, so often I come across scan protocols utilizing a very high kVp of 130-140. I have heard technologist say that it because you have to penetrate the contrast, or that the body part is thick and dense. In my experience, patients with a BMI of 30 or less, 100 kVp will penetrate the patient’s anatomy and will yield to a more contrasting image data set because the kVp is closer to the K edge of the iodine contrast. A technologist will see an increase in the mA value set by the systems exposure control system as it compensates to maintain the signal to noise ratio set in the protocols. In my experience that little bump in mA, which yields more photons to the detector, will produce a lower CTDI than which would be achieved using 120-130-140 kVp.

Since we are discussing CT angiograms, helical pitch is another scan parameter which is misunderstood in CT angiography. Modern CT systems usually have table speed options for helical pitch which include a slow table speed which would provide for a smaller available scanning range but with higher image detail and image quality and dose to the patient, to a fast table speed giving a longer scan range with a shorter total scan time. A slow table speed is not desirable for CT angiograms because you could lose your contrast bolus, increase venous contamination in the image set and leads to a higher than necessary patient exposure. Use either a standard pitch or a faster pitch, and remember your exposure control system will compensate with a bump in the mA value. For example, I like a faster table speed and 100 kVp for a PE study because I can capture the beating heart with less motion artifact in the lung fields and in the ascending aorta. The lower kVp means that the IV contrast on my images will be brighter because it is less penetrated.

 

How does Scan Field of View affect neuro image quality?

 

The CT image we view on the computer screen is made up of CT Pixels displayed over the CT matrix. It is the field of view divided by the matrix which determines the size of the pixels in the displayed image. Keeping in mind that the smaller the pixel size, the greater the special resolution, CT technologist should endeavor to scan brain/neuro studies in the smallest field of view that will encompass the patient’s anatomy, in this case the head. This usually requires more precisely positioning the patient’s head at gantry isocenter. So many times I have witnessed staff technologist move the scan range either more anterior, posterior or laterally to encompass the patient’s anatomy because it was not properly positioned within the scan field which can be quite small, 240mm in some cases. This moving of the scan acquisition results in the system shifting the scan parameters from a small scan field of view, say 240 mm to a slightly larger field of view (320-400mm) which changes the pixel size. Scanning in a larger field of view will create larger pixels thus compromising spacial resolution required for brain and neuro imaging. Technologist should keep in mind that it is better to re-position the patient within the small scan field of view and not continue the habit of moving the scan field of view to the patient’s position. This is also necessary for proper CT exposure reporting. Brain scans should have a dose calculation based on a 16cm water phantom and there is a possibility that a change in the scan field of view could change the exposure calculation. When scanning multiple anatomical areas using the same set of scout images, such as a head and neck or C spine, the technologist should carefully center to the patient’s head as that has the smallest field of view requirement for both proper spatial resolution and exposure reporting.

 

Thin overlapping image reconstruction is not Raw Data.

 

Thin overlapping images have a wide variety of uses from the creation of simple coronal and sagittal data sets without stair stepping artifacts caused by thick data sets, to MIP and MINIP data sets created automatically on the CT system. Thin overlapping data sets are loaded into sophisticated 3D workstations and advanced diagnostic computer applications such as Cardiac, Perfusion and Dual Energy. These thin image data sets, (since they are reconstructed images), are at times wrongly referred to as Raw Data. Rule of thumb, if you can see it, it is image data. This misrepresentation may be because the thin data set is often reconstructed at the raw data or acquired slice width, however with an overlap by as much as 50%. This type of reconstruction improves Z axis resolution while limiting partial volume averaging. Since these data sets are reconstructed images, they are not Raw Data.

The term Raw Data should be reserved only to describe the digital data collected from the scan acquisition prior to its reconstruction process. This Raw Data is held by the system and is made available to the operator for further manipulation until such time that it is automatically overwritten or the operator deletes it, if it is not protected.

Raw Data is used and manipulated by the operator when there is required a change in the display field of view, reconstruction algorithms, to change the start and end point of a reconstruction, a change of slice width, interval or any change in X and or Y component of a reconstructed image data set.

 

MPR is not a “reconstruction”.

 

MPR is often referred to as a Multi Planer Reconstruction, as many technologists use this term to refer to the coronal, sagittal, oblique or curved images made from the thin overlapping axial image data sets. We should consider that MPR is actually a Reformat (“to give a new format to, revise or represent in another format”. Definition from Oxford Language Dictionary), of the thin axial images to a change of projection to the coronal, sagittal, oblique or curved plane. The first use of Reformat according to Merriam Webster was in 1967 as a transitive verb meaning: “To format (something) again or in a different way.” Since image data is used and manipulated (reformatted in a different way) to a different plane of view, Reformat or Reformation would be the proper term for this kind of image.

Introducing: Jeremy Lorenzo

We are excited to introduce our newest team member, Jeremy Lorenzo. Read a little bit more about him here:

I am a results driven professional, focused on making business efficient. In addition, I am always looking to make the customer experience better. I pride myself in being a mentor to others, and am focused on improving their job experience. I have 12 years of experience in healthcare, specializing in providing service for Bayer Healthcare products. I have been recognized on the national level numerous times for exceeding financials, customer satisfaction, and excellence in service. For the last 6 years of my employment, I have been in a leadership position, working closely with the service leadership team. Together, we developed strategies to increase revenue while maintaining top-level service.

I am a father and husband first. I have always been a person of integrity and persistence. I encourage input from all who I work with, because I realize the importance in keeping an open mind. I keep a positive outlook on life and do my best to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Lastly, I remain humble and thankful for the opportunities in life.

I am beyond pleased to be working with Catalina Imaging, and I am eager to learn about the business. I am looking forward to working closely with all of our customers, and am excited to be a part of a team that provides a solution to healthcare.

Mobile CT Rental: How to Prepare Your Site

Mobile CT Trailer Schematics

If your medical facility decides to Rent a Mobile CT Scanner, you must prepare your facility for this service based on the site planning and regulatory requirements. If your provider has not explained the guidelines for site preparation, read the guidelines below.

Related articles:

  • What to Look for in a CT Scanner Service Provider
  • Reasons Why Medical Facilities Rent Mobile CT Scanners
  •  
    Physical Site Requirements

    Most mobile CT scanner rentals use a trailer that is 8.5 feet wide, 48 feet long, and 13.5 feet tall, and weighs around 30 tons. With this in mind, make sure that your site can accommodate this size and weight.

    A good rule of thumb is to use asphalt to prep the ground for the trailer, which is similar to a concrete surface, although it can be installed at a lower cost. The goal is to create a level surface that can accommodate the weight of the CT mobile trailer.

     
    Power Requirements

    A mobile CT needs three-phase power. And when it comes to voltage, always check in with your provider because each trailer has specific requirements. But as of this writing, Russellstoll is the most common manufacturer of a connector used by trailers.

    Another thing to keep in mind: the electrical power source must be located within 300 feet of the main power source, and a lockout/tagout provision based on OSHA Standard 1910.147 should be met.

     
    IT Requirements

    The mobile CT scanner unit needs three telephone connections that include phone cords (included in the service), Hubbel all-weather telephone connection (you need to purchase and install this one), and 2 CAT5 data line connections with connection cables (included in the service).

    A good rule of thumb is to discuss the preparation in advance with your IT department to ensure that you have a reliable network connection outside of the main medical building. Additionally, an IT expert should arrive the same day as the mobile CT scanner to ensure that network protocols are set up correctly.

     
    Stock Consumables

    Just like a fixed CT scanner, mobile CT trailers need consumables such as dyes, injector syringes, printer files, among others. Also, make sure that your gurney is of the correct size based on the patient lift platform.

     
    Regulatory Requirements

    If you decide to rent a mobile CT scanner for your facility, you must register with the state the X-ray tube you’re going to use (your local authority will require a yearly evaluation performed by a licensed physicist). Oftentimes, this process takes 2-3 weeks with the help of your provider’s radiation safety officer.

    If your provider does not have a license to hold radioactive materials in your state, the law requires that they submit a new application, a process that can take between three and six months.

    On the other hand, if your provider has a radioactive materials license, it only needs to inform the state about the additional location, address, and authorized user.

    Additionally, all states require that the mobile CT rental provider and the medical facility have a signed memorandum of agreement, which defines the responsibilities of each party.

     
    See also: Top Mobile CT Imaging Brands

     
    Key Takeaways

    It is ideal to plan ahead even before signing up with a mobile CT rental provider. By doing so, you can avoid costly issues and “surprises.”

    Additionally, make sure that there is an open line of communication between your staff (IT department and other stakeholders), your provider, and the regulating bodies in your state.

     
    If you need a reputable mobile CT scanner provider, visit Catalina Imaging or call us at (844) 949-1664.

    At Catalina Imaging, we specialize in mobile CT scanners that use the most advanced technologies like Siemens, Toshiba/Canon, and GE. If you partner with us, you can enjoy these additional services:

  • Site assistance, pre-planning, and set-up
  • Customer support 24/7
  • Transportation
  • Fully insured equipment
  • Physicist surveys
  • Application training (fees may apply)
  • Top Mobile CT Imaging Brands

    Top Mobile CT Imaging Brands

    Leading mobile CT imaging provider Catalina Imaging has brand preferences because they provide advantages in mobile settings, resulting in a better experience for the medical facilities that rent mobile CT trailers.

    Catalina Imaging’s brand references are primarily based on two factors: sliced count and dose of optimization.

    According to previous studies, the higher slice counts, the shorter the scan time and the better resolution a CT scanner can provide. Nevertheless, some experts believe that 128-320 slice counts are overkill, and most medical facilities only need 16-slice CT that works well for emergency care centers, medium and large hospitals, and facilities with high traffic.

    By contrast, lower slice count such as the 4-slice CT has certain limitations that only make it ideal in low-volume centers (i.e., one to two patients every week), veterinary practices, and urology diagnosis.

    Due to the growing demand for lower radiation exposure, dose optimization is another critical factor when choosing a CT imaging scanner. Nowadays, there are models that can accommodate lower x-ray tube current and have improved detector dose efficiency.
    Catalina Imaging’s Brand Preference

    The CT imaging provider offers GE, Siemens, and Toshiba because they provide a better experience for the medical centers and hospitals that rent their CT fleet.

    Related articles:
    What to Look for in a CT Scanner Service Provider
    Reasons Why Medical Facilities Rent Mobile CT Scanners

     

    GE Line

    Their GE line includes the Revolution Discovery 750HD, and VCT 64/128. They also use software called ASiR that makes it possible to use the lowest dose and exposure to radiation possible without compromising the quality of the image.

    The upfront cost of GE CT scanners is higher than other models in the market; however, their replacement parts, labor, and cost of service are lower. Also, they are easier to maintain because of their air-cooled system.

     

    Toshiba CT Scanner

    Toshiba scanners are known for their power and quality. For example, one of their most popular models Aquilion 16 (16-slice scanner) can rotate in just under 0.4 seconds but still provide highly detailed images at 12 frames per second.

    As of this writing, Toshiba CT scanners are the preferred models to conduct bone density scans, lung analysis, and examinations involving cancer, urinary tract, musculoskeletal, and nervous system.
    See also:
    Canon Medical’s Advancements with AI-based Image Reconstruction Technology

     

    Siemens Mobile CT

    Siemens scanners provide one of the best clinical performance thanks to their advanced radiation and minimization. This means that doctors enjoy sharper images even though their patients are exposed to lower levels of radiation exposure.

    Compared to other brands, Siemens scanners are more affordable in terms of upfront cost and maintenance.

    And lastly, they have models that can accommodate up to 456-lbs. patients, thanks to its 70 cm gantry bore plus a 70 cm field of view.

     

    Mobile CT Service from Catalina Imaging

    To learn more about Catalina Imaging Mobile CT Service, visit their website or call them at 844 949-1664.

    With more than 50 years of combined experience in managing mobile imaging fleets, Catalina Imaging is your reliable partner whether you need short- or long-term mobile CT service.

    What to Look for in a CT Scanner Service Provider

    If you are a radiologist manager or hospital administrator, choosing the “right” mobile CT scanner service provider might be a daunting task because you have to consider the service fee, the type of equipment they offer, and the nitty-gritty details of their contract.

    To help you choose the right service provider, we compiled a list of things you should always consider.

    Experience

    When we say experience, we are not just referring to the number of years a CT scan engineer has spent to hone his expertise, but also the service provider’s experience in handling a specific model and brand. For this reason, a GE CT engineer with a decade of knowledge may not be the best one to work on a Siemens scanner (and vice versa).

    The general rule of thumb is to ask the provider’s “preferred” CT scan brands and models if you want to assess their level of expertise and experience.

    Availability of parts

    It is advisable to choose a service provider that stocks their own inventory of mobile CT scanner parts. In this way, they won’t have a hard time finding a replacement part in the event that this medical equipment breaks down.

    Providers that keep their own replacement parts can help you save money because you don’t have to pay for the shipping cost. Additionally, you don’t have to wait for days, or worse, weeks, just for the parts to arrive on your doorstep.

    Simply put, you can avoid additional expenses and prolonged downtime if you partner with a service provider that keeps their own replacement part inventory.

    Customer Service

    Always choose a provider that offers a customer-focused service, meaning they should maintain an open line of communication, including weekends and holidays. In addition, they should be able to resolve problems (for example, the CT scan needs repair or tune-up) as quickly as possible. Hence, you may want to partner with a local service provider whose engineers live just a short drive from your facility.

    Reasonable Service Fee

    Opt for a CT scan service provider that offers reasonable service fees and discounts. For instance, some companies offer a discount if you agree to a long-term lease, i.e., a minimum of one year.

    Of course, price should not be the only consideration when choosing a provider. Keep in mind that the quality of service trumps all other factors.

    Links:
    Mobile CT Scan
    Why Choose Us

    To learn more about high-quality CT scanner providers, call Catalina Imaging at 844 949-1664 or schedule your free consultation by clicking here.

    Catalina Imaging‘s commitment is to provide your facility with industry-leading mobile solutions to ensure your scanning needs are met. We offer you state-of-the-art technology supported by our dedicated customer service, guaranteeing efficiency when it is needed most.

    Reasons Why Medical Facilities Rent Mobile CT Scanners

    Toshiba Prime 160-slice Mobile CT Scanner

    Most hospitals and medical facilities that choose to rent mobile CT scanners than purchase this medical imaging equipment do so because of the upfront cost. As of this writing, the cost of new ct scanners greatly varies between $285,000 and $2.1 million.

    Why Do Medical Facilities Rent Mobile CT Scanners?

    They are running a training or education course.

    Hospitals and medical facilities that offer training often need to rent a mobile CT scanner, so their own imaging equipment is not tied up to their education course. Usually, they opt for a long-term lease (a minimum of one year) to enjoy a huge discount.

    They need a trial run.

    Newly established medical facilities may want to conduct a “trial run” before they purchase their own [fixed] CT scan, which of course, involves a considerable investment that can reach millions of dollars. Once they can establish sustainable foot traffic–i.e., enough patients who need this imaging procedure–they may proceed to buy their own scanner.

    On the other hand, if the trial run shows that the number of patients every month fluctuates significantly, they may want to stick to the leasing arrangement at least for the meantime.

    Their fixed CT scanners are under renovation or maintenance.

    If the hospital’s current CT suite is under maintenance or renovation, they need to rent this mobile CT scan to continue providing this imaging procedure that is commonly used in detecting injuries, abnormal growth, and damage in bones, blood vessels, and internal organs.

    There is a backlog of patients.

    Some medical facilities experience a sudden spike of backlogs that affect the quality of patient care. Hence, hospitals rent CT scanners from time to time to make sure that they can keep up with the demand.

    Purchasing a fixed CT scanner may not be a sound investment.

    Some hospital networks prefer to rent mobile CT scanners than to equip each site with its own CT suite to save money. This is ideal if not every medical facility site receives enough foot traffic to justify buying an expensive imaging equipment.

    When partnering with hospital networks, a mobile CT rental can have its trailer run a route and then stop at each site for a couple of days.

    They need to preserve their working capital and cash flow.

    Having a fixed CT suite is a huge investment that can reach millions of dollars. For this reason, small hospitals and medical facilities opt for a long-term lease to preserve their working capital and cash flow.

    Leasing laboratory equipment is usually ideal for medical facilities that need to reinvest more capital into the core operations of their business.

    (Note: Medical machinery is generally hard to resell, which further makes it ideal to lease it than purchase one if the medical facility needs to improve their working capital.)

    They want to improve patient care.

    In the past, people from small towns needed to travel long distances just to undergo CT scans from city hospitals. But with the advent of mobile CT scanners, patients will simply need to go to their local hospitals to receive this imaging procedure.

     
    Related articles:

  • Patient Awareness Drives CT Scan Needs
  • The Difference Between CT and MRI
  • The Importance of Ongoing CT Applications Training
  •  
    To learn more about our mobile CT scan rental, call us at (844) 949-1664 or visit Catalina Imaging to know the benefits of partnering with us.

     
    Links:

  • About Catalina Imaging
  • Why Choose Us
  • Contact Us
  • Patient Awareness Drives CT Scan Needs

    Patient Awareness Drives CT Scan Needs | Catalina Imaging

    Patient Awareness of Different Imaging Test Options 

    Over the recent years, around 75 million CT scans have been performed annually in the US, a number that is expected to continue to reach 84 million by 2022, according to iData Research. 

     

    Patient awareness is one of the key drivers of the growing number of CT scan procedures and other non-invasive medical imaging technologies. This is particularly true for individuals with a strong [family] history of cancer and other debilitating diseases who can benefit from early detection and diagnosis, which in turn increases the success rate of their treatments. 

     

    However, doctors would not perform CT scans and other medical procedures without a substantial medical benefit or if these are not medically indicated. 

     

    Patients should bear in mind that the physicians’ job is not only to diagnose a disease and perform treatments but also to determine whether a test is medically warranted in the first place. 

     

    CT Provider: What Patients Look For 

    With the advent of the Internet, today’s patients are more aware of their options when it comes to healthcare and treatment. Furthermore, they demand a patient-centric experience that includes non-invasive procedures that provide quick and accurate results. 

     

    Patients are also aware of the radiation risk that comes with CT scans, prompting them to choose providers that adjust the settings of their scanners based on their body size and age. For children, it is particularly important to limit their radiation exposure because of their small frame and increased sensitivity to radiation. 

     

    Modern CT scanners can provide optimal image quality even at lower radiation levels, says leading mobile CT provider Catalina Imaging

     

    To further promote high patient satisfaction, Catalina Imaging encourages good communications between patients and their healthcare providers, adding that patient experience also plays a significant role in adherence to treatment and its effectiveness and outcomes. 

     

    GE Healthcare also echoes Catalina Imaging’s stance on empowering patients and improving communications to provide them with a better experience. 

     

    On its website, GE Healthcare states that technologists should perform these guidelines to improve patient experience: 

    • Acknowledge the patients and introduce themselves before the procedure. 
    • Describe the procedure and how long it takes. 
    • Provide patients opportunities to ask questions. 
    • Express genuine concern and empathy toward their patients. 
    • Acknowledge patient fear and anxieties. 
    • Communicate to the patients that they can be reached during a procedure. 

     

    Better Imaging Technology

    Today’s CT scanners can scan through large areas of the body in just a few seconds, even with lower levels of radiation and contrast dye. Such speed has been tied to improved patient experience, according to several surveys. 

     

    Another notable advancement in medical imaging procedures is the use of mobile CT scanners, which are housed within a trailer that allows them to move from one medical facility to the next.

     

    Mobile CT scanners have made quality healthcare more accessible to patients in rural areas who were initially forced to travel long distances to go to city hospitals. 

     

    Catalina Imaging: The Leading Mobile CT Scanner Provider 

    Catalina Imaging has been at the forefront of the campaign for a better patient experience during medical imaging procedures. Through their nationwide fleet of mobile CT scanners, they have been helping healthcare facilities make medical imaging tests more accessible to residents near them. 

     

    Their service and storage locations are in Loomis CA, Upland CA, Forest Lake MN, Mokena IL, and Statesville NC

     

    For more information, you can call them at (844) 949-1664 or send an email at info@catalinaimaging.

    CT Scan for Children: What Parents Should Know

    CT Scan for Children: What Parents Should Know | Catalina Imaging

    What Is a CT Scan for Children?

    A pediatric CT scan is a diagnostic medical imaging procedure that creates three-dimensional images of internal organs, soft tissues, blood vessels, and bones. Compared to the traditional x-ray, it provides a more detailed image that allows medical professionals to diagnose an illness or an injury more accurately. 

     

    Most CT scans take a few seconds, although sometimes the procedure can take more than 10 minutes. 

     

    The medical imaging test uses a large machine that resembles a giant donut with a sliding bed inside where the patient lies still during the procedure. 

     

    The machine emits low-dose radiation that passes through the body and gets picked up by electronic detectors located on the opposite side of the frame to create detailed images. Then, a dedicated computer assembles the “slices” of pictures to come up with three-dimensional images that can show internal injury, tumor, or any abnormality. 

     

    Common Reasons Why Doctors Recommend Pediatric CT Scans

    CT scans can help medical professionals diagnose a wide range of health conditions and injuries. In children, these are often performed to identify the causes of severe abdominal pain and evaluate the extent of the injury. 

     

    The medical imaging test is also commonly used to diagnose cancer and monitor patients’ response to treatments. 

     

    Because of the highly detailed images, CT scans are commonly used to evaluate the heart and blood vessels of children and even babies. 

     

    These are the other reasons why doctors recommend pediatric CT scans: 

    • Tumor 
    • Pneumonia and other complications from infections
    • Birth defects
    • Appendicitis
    • Inflammatory diseases 
    • Trauma 
    • trauma to blood vessels or lung
    • Stores in the urinary tract 
    • Seizure and other neurological diseases 
    • Hearing loss
    • Bone-related injuries and defects

     

    In emergencies, CT scan is the go-to medical imaging test since it can quickly detect internal injuries and bleeding, allowing ER doctors to perform life-saving treatments. 

     

    Related article: Managing Claustrophobia and Anxiety During Your CT Scan

     

    Preparing Your Child for a CT Scan 

    Each patient will receive a specific set of instructions before undergoing CT scans; hence, you should always ask your doctor for detailed recommendations. 

     

    Meanwhile, the guidelines mentioned below are “general rules” for most, but not all, patients. 

     

    • Your child may be asked to avoid drinking or eating a few hours before the exam; this is a common requirement for patients who will receive anesthesia or sedatives. 

     

    • Inform your child’s doctor about his previous tests (including CT scans), allergies, medical condition, and health-related history. 

     

    • Your child should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing (without zippers, metal snaps, and belt buckles) during CT scans. 

     

    • Before the exam, your child should remove metal objects like eyeglasses, jewelry, retainers, hearing aid, etc. 

     

    Important note: Depending on your child’s age and the area that needs to be scanned, anesthesia may be necessary. In many cases, young children who need to be entirely motionless for a prolonged period may need sedation to ensure high-quality images. 

     

    How to Minimize Radiation Risk

    While x-rays and CT scans use very low levels of radiation, it remains ideal to avoid unnecessary exposure. Simply put, these imaging procedures should be only reserved for patients who need them. 

     

    If your child needs a CT scan, you may want to go to children’s hospitals where technicians routinely adjust their machines to compensate for a child’s smaller size. By contrast, general hospitals don’t always change the settings of their scanners. 

     

    In addition, you should tell your doctor if your child has had previous tests, including CT scans. In most cases, repeated CT scans should be avoided unless absolutely necessary. 

     

    Who Interprets the Results? 

    Radiologists are medical doctors who can interpret the CT scan results of your child. They will send an official report to your kid’s primary physician. 

     

    CT Scan for Children: What Parents Should Know

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    For more information about CT scans for children, contact Catalina Imaging at (844) 949-1664. They are the leading mobile CT scanners that can help hospitals and other medical facilities provide high-quality healthcare. 

    Reasons Why Your Doctor Might Recommend a CT Scan

    Reasons Why Your Doctor Might Recommend a CT Scan | Catalina Imaging

    A CT scan is a medical imaging procedure that combines a series of X-rays taken from different angles to create a highly detailed image of the soft tissues, blood vessels, and bones inside your body. 

     

    A CT scan machine is well suited for diagnosing diseases and injuries because it provides detailed images. However, it is particularly useful to ER doctors who need to examine traumatic accident victims quickly. 

     

    Why Would Your Doctor Order a CT Scan? 

    With the proliferation of medical imaging machines like MRI, ultrasound, and bone scan, you might wonder why your doctor still recommends a CT scan. 

    To better help you understand the benefits of a CT scan, we list some of the most common reasons why your doctor might recommend this medical imaging procedure. 

     

    It is a better option than magnetic resonance imaging or MRI in some situations. 

    While MRIs and CT scans are almost similar, there are reasons why MRI is not an ideal procedure. For instance, patients with cochlear implants, implanted pacemakers, and intracranial aneurysm clips can’t have this procedure that involves the use of strong magnets. 

    Also, CT scans are shorter and less noisy than MRIs, which emit a banging sound because of the metal coils vibrating during the procedure. 

     

    You have soft tissue damage. 

    Compared to traditional X-rays, CT scans provide a crispier, more detailed image of the soft tissue around the bones. And with better images, your doctor can provide a more accurate diagnosis and ultimately a more effective treatment and recovery plan. 

     

    You have a certain type of vascular disease. 

    While ultrasound can be used to examine your blood vessels, sometimes their results are inconclusive when it comes to aneurysms, which makes CT scans a better option.

    CT scans can also replace surgical biopsy and exploratory surgery, allowing doctors to examine your blood vessels without resorting to surgical procedures. 

     

    You have bone injuries affecting small components. 

    If you have bone injuries in your spinal area, hands, feet, and other “small components,” CT scan is a better option than X-rays which may not provide the same level of accuracy. 

     

    You need a bone scan. 

    CT scan machines can evaluate your bone density and ultimately determine if you have osteoporosis, which stems from a lifelong lack of calcium. 

    CT scans can also diagnose osteoporosis-related fractures that commonly occur in the wrist, spine, and hip. 

     

    You are receiving chemotherapy. 

    Cancer patients routinely undergo CT scans to determine if their tumors respond to radiation treatments used to kill cancerous tumors. These machines can also show doctors the tumor’s size and shape. 

     

    You need tumor surgery. 

    Before surgery, your specialists may recommend a CT scan alongside biopsy to help them confirm the presence of a tumor and learn about its exact location, shape, and size. The images from the CT scan can also help them examine the tissue surrounding the tumor. 

     

    You just had a traumatic accident. 

    While MRIs and CT scans have almost the same functions, CT scans are a better imaging tool in emergencies such as a car collision and slip and fall accident in which doctors need to detect internal injuries quickly to save their patients. 

     

    You need your brain examined. 

    Brain CT scans are used to evaluate the presence of mass, tumor, ischemic process (like stroke), fluid collection, hemorrhage, and trauma. Compared to standard X-rays of the head, these machines provide more detailed information about the brain structure and its soft tissue. 

    CT scans for the brain usually take between 15 and 30 minutes. 

     

    Related article: Managing Claustrophobia and Anxiety During Your CT Scan

     

    To learn more about CT scans, contact Catalina Imaging at (844) 949-1664 or email them at info@catalinaimaging.com. They provide a mobile CT scan fleet for medical facilities in California, North Carolina, Minnesota, and Illinois