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Scanning on wheels — the benefits of mobile imaging

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | July 05, 2021
Mobile Imaging
From the July 2021 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine


Demand will be particularly strong for nuclear medical imaging for diagnosing cancer, cardiac and Alzheimer’s disease, says Insight Imaging’s Krzyzanowski. “We’ve seen an increased willingness among health systems to work with non-affiliated providers to ensure that the communities’ health needs are met, regardless of site of care. Rural hospitals and oncology practices will continue to need PET/CT service for cancer and heart patients who may be too ill to travel to a larger city for imaging.”

Scanning equipment is also expected to be lighter and faster and installed in more eco-friendly, electric vehicles with solar capabilities. “You may see newer hybrid models with combined imaging like MR/PET/CT all in one, as an example,” said Smith of Medical Coaches and Armor Mobile Group. “Generators will become more environmentally friendly. You will see a definite shift in how you are positioning the patient experience inside your mobile unit.”

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Digirad’s Shirley expects to see more mobile imaging vans show up at hospitals with equipment that can be transported right to the patient’s bedside. “We will always have tractor trailers for things like whole body PET/CT scan. But I think we’re going to see more and more smaller devices that change mobile imaging. We can use a service that brings scanners inside the hospital, images and leaves.”

Mobile imaging enables rural populations to be screened regularly and detect illnesses early so they can seek treatment sooner rather than later.
McCormack with Shared Medical Services believes the next generation of mobile solutions will incorporate more tools to simplify the image acquisition process. This may include remote scanning assistance capabilities for advanced applications and protocols, as well as AI for more precise and efficient care.

Providing the best quality imaging will require mobile imaging trucks to carry the latest in scanning technologies, especially in the cath lab arena, according to Mark Koers. He predicts mobile cath labs will grow bigger over the next decade. “There will always be a need to upgrade cath lab X-ray systems, and we see the window getting shorter as technology advances. Ten years ago we saw hospitals replacing X-ray systems every 7-10 years. Now, with the advances being made in imaging, we're seeing replacements occurring more often, as quickly as every 5-7 years.”

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