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What to do before the 'new baby' arrives

por Lisa Chamoff, Contributing Reporter | December 11, 2015
Mobile Imaging
Donald McCormack
From the December 2015 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

There is a lot to consider before bringing any new piece of equipment home to the hospital. This is especially true when you’re preparing to rent a temporary or permanent mobile MRI, CT or PET/CT system. HealthCare Business News spoke with Donald McCormack, the chief executive officer of Southwest Medical Resources, to get an idea of what to expect when you’re expecting a mobile unit.

HCB News: How far ahead should you plan to rent a mobile unit?
In the past, they were readily available when you needed them, but in this last year we’ve seen a significant change in demand. Back in 2008, there were several mobile companies building trailers, and now there are very few and their capacity is much lower than it was back then. You need to be doing a rental as far in advance as possible. The real solution here is to have a Rolodex with numerous companies who can provide these services to you to really get an answer. Two or three months is the minimum time if you’re looking for a long-term production. In our company, I need 90 to 120 days to build a mobile solution to suit.

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HCB News: Do you need a special location for the mobile unit?
There are three ways to go about this. The most preferred, when you have a mobile that you’re going to use for an extended period of time, is a concrete pad that’s poured specifically for the use of mobiles. For short-term interim needs, it is perfectly acceptable to use an asphalt location, five or six parking spots that are set aside. But, it’s really important to note that they’re going to put steel plates underneath the landing legs of the mobile to disperse the weight and that there will be damage to the asphalt, especially if it’s a really hot environment. The mobile provider will never take responsibility for this and you will end up with some parking lot damage if it’s really hot. An interim solution to that is a pad for each wheel.

The last one that is the least desirable, but has been used for short-term solutions, is having compacted dirt. This is only good in arid climates and it’s only for really short-term solutions.

HCB News: What are the power requirements?
Depending on the type of mobile that you’re going to be putting in place, it’s always 480/three-phase power as the maximum, and 200 amps is the maximum need. The power requirements are typically a Russellstoll connector for a mobile unit. That’s a four- or five-wire [connection] and the OEMs decide which one they’re using. That four- or five-wire connection can be adapted. So, if you’re putting one in your facility, it’s better to have a five-wire Russellstoll connector than to use an adapted connection to go down to the four-wire for the mobile if you get one that’s a four wire.

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