Imaging Matters: Using Technology

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By John Garrett

A vast majority of every person turning a wrench on medical imaging equipment is using a laptop in some capacity of that repair. Even if it is only electronic documentation. Often, however, there is need for a laptop, a computer, or a specialty piece of technology used in service of the diagnostic imaging equipment. This includes Oscilloscopes, mAs meter and non-invasive kVp meter. However, there is a common piece of equipment that is being used more and more in the complex process of troubleshooting and repairing equipment. The humble and all invasive smartphone.

There are a number of uses for the smartphone. Most of them center on the built-in camera. There are some free applications that allow the camera to be used as a magnifying glass. This helps in a number of situations. Often by taking a picture of something small with a magnification app, the picture can be manipulated by picture programs to get the best possible view of something small. It may be as simple as changing the picture from color into black and white or adjusting contrast. It might be something as complex as changing the color from RGB to some other format. There are a number of techniques that can improve your ability to see things in a picture.

Another use of the camera is to take a picture of a complex set-up or set of connections. This is an aid to memory to ensure that cables are run the same way during parts replacement. With many phones you can use a “pen” or even your finger to draw or make notes on the picture. This allows for notes and directions that may be important when you have been working long hours and are under a great strain to get equipment working.

There are a few considerations when using the phone’s camera. First and foremost, remember HIPPA security. Ensure no patient data or information will be in the picture. This requires that before you snap a picture, you make sure there is nothing in the background that might have patient information displayed. Often this might be a monitor, but it might be notes or a printout that is in the background. Second, make sure there are no people in the background. Third, if you take the pictures, ensure that they are either deleted or held in a secure location. For most companies that may be a computer or stored in an internally shared cloud. This typically does not include your phone. Make sure you remove any pictures from your phone before leaving the site after a repair.

Anytime you use new or non-traditional technology in a hospital or medical setting be sure to consider the inadvertent consequences that are possible from its use. Be aware and courteous. You may want to check local policy to ensure the use of the item, specifically a cellphone, as it may be limited or restricted.

John Garrett has 20 years experience in imaging service including general radiation, mammography, CT and nuclear medicine. He has worked for third-party service companies, manufacturers, sales companies and in-house imaging teams.

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