09 May 2018

Nuclear Medicine: The last frontier for advanced visualization.

Many hospital systems and imaging centers have moved toward the enterprise-level data access of advanced visualization (AV). For more than a decade, they’ve reaped the benefits of improved workflows by providing radiologists with real-time access to images captured through modalities such as CT, MRI, PET, PET/CT, SPECT, US and XA.

For nuclear medicine (NM), however, the picture is very different. AV has not gained widespread adoption for NM due to the inherent differences in NM technology and how its imaging results are generated. Until now, only static NM findings have been available via AV, not the full NM studies themselves.

Workflow challenges for the NM technologist.
Unlike other modalities, NM does not produce single images. An NM study consists of a series of images captured over time that enable a radiologist to analyze organ function. But that analysis can’t take place until the technologist creates the imaging results. This must be done at a dedicated NM workstation – typically in the exam room. When the study is ready, it must also be viewed at that same workstation. This leads to less-than-ideal throughput levels because the exam room is tied up during both image processing and study viewing. Due to this labor-intensive process, the NM technologist spends much more time per exam than a technologist specializing in a different modality. Clearly, there is room for workflow improvement.

A whole new world in user experience.
NM cameras have a long performance life and are rarely retired. Imaging groups accumulate various models through merger and acquisition, each with a dedicated workstation, service and maintenance contract, and proprietary software which requires onsite updates. Some of the NM image-processing software, with its lack of workflow customization options, doesn’t meet today’s user experience expectations.

But if these workstations are bypassed through a vendor-neutral application that resides at the enterprise level, significant reductions in operational expense and advancements in workflow efficiency are possible. Dedicated NM workstations can be eliminated, along with their service and maintenance contracts. Exam rooms will no longer be tied up while imaging results are created or studies viewed. And the full NM studies can be distributed and viewed enterprise-wide via an elegant user interface. This moves the healthcare enterprise toward the efficiency of full consolidation of the imaging results for all modalities.

Explore opportunities for improved NM workflow and study access.
You can open up new territory for NM technologists, providing them with the same workflow benefits other team members already enjoy, while eliminating the expense of dedicated NM workstations. To learn more, contact us today.