Hospitals are currently experiencing a surge of COVID-19 patients. Because of this, hospitals are looking to expand their radiology imaging capabilities quickly. Various computed tomography systems vendors are now offering semi-permanent configurations to meet the demands. Some of these systems come packaged in shipping containers to allow mobility.
When COVID-19 increased the demand for imaging capability in Paris, France during the spring earlier this year, GE Healthcare designed a prefabricated structure that can house a CT system just outside of the Henri-Mondor Hospital in Créteil. This temporary structure contained what GE Healthcare engineers call “CT in a Box.”
The additional facility improved the hospital’s assessment of disease progression and complications in COVID-19 patients and enhanced patient flow in the hospital. The “CT in a box” was dedicated to COVID-19 patients, which allowed a specific flow for them.
GE Healthcare initially deployed the technology in China and the UAE at the beginning of the outbreak. Clinicians in China’s pop-up and remote hospitals needed CT scans to help them spot complications earlier. The situation gave rise to the idea of “CT in a Box,” an easy-to-install modular machine that can provide the same functions as traditional, building-installed CT scanners. They used their experiences to develop the idea further and adapted it to the specific needs of clinicians dealing with COVID-19 patients.
The challenging part of building the “CT in a Box” was not fitting the CT machine inside but replicating the safe and controlled environment of a hospital CT room. Traditional CT rooms in hospitals lead-shielded walls and thick windows so technicians and clinicians can safely observe the patient and operate the machine. While the small doses of radiation patients receive during the process of imaging, the prolonged exposure of clinicians and technicians puts them at risk.
Another real challenge is maintaining a constant temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit in the room. Hospital CT rooms have sophisticated HVAC systems that ensure the optimal temperature is achieved.
“CT in a Box” has proven to be an excellent addition to the hospital’s ability to treat its patients. There’s a clinical consensus that CT scans are vital for assessing disease progression and detect complications in COVID-19 patients.
The module is capable of accommodating one patient per hour, even though the actual scanning can be completed in a matter of seconds. Technicians need a lot of time to fully sanitize the exam room and prep the patients. But the additional number of patients examined is not the only benefit of these modular CT scanners. The improved patient flow across the hospital, as well as relieving the pressure on existing CT scanners, have a tremendous impact.
(Source: ITN Online.)