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New portable X-ray technology improves workflow and patient safety

Portable X-ray technology

Diagnostic Radiology Supervisor Michelle Williamson, RT(R), demonstrates BWFH’s new portable X-ray technology

At Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital, when an inpatient requires an X-ray, diagnostic radiology technologists travel to the patient’s room with a portable X-ray machine. Now, new technology is making that process easier for the technologists and also improving safety for the patients.

The improved technology includes updated digital detector plates and a tablet that work with the existing portable X-ray machine. “The new digital detector plates are a great improvement over our old system,” says Brian McIntosh, BS, RT(R), CRA, Director of Radiology at BWFH. “The image displays on the tablet seconds after it is taken, while the technologist is still with the patient. This allows the technologist to ensure they got the necessary image.”

With the old system, if the patient was breathing or not positioned correctly and the proper image was not obtained, the technologist would only discover this after they left the patient’s room and brought the plates back to the workstation in the Radiology Department. They would then need to return to the patient’s room and start the process all over again. The new technology allows the technologist to see the image, reposition the patient as necessary and retake the image in just one visit.

“It’s so much easier for us,” says Diagnostic Radiology Supervisor Michelle Williamson, RT(R). “And it’s much nicer for the patient since we don’t have to disturb them more than once.”

Williamson says there are other benefits for patients, namely safety. “The new plates require less radiation to take an image,” she explains. “It’s a much smaller dose for the patients, which is important.”

Once the technologist has obtained the image, they simply plug the tablet into a workstation in the Radiology Department and make their notes. The files then go straight to the picture archiving and communication system (PACS) where a radiologist can read the test. “The whole process is really user friendly,” says Williamson.

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