por Lauren Dubinsky
, Senior Reporter | March 14, 2016
From the March 2016 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
When a hospital is looking to purchase a new mobile C-arm, it can be a challenging experience, especially since cutting costs and improving outcomes is governing their decisions.
Mobile C-arms with flat-panel detectors can cost between $280,000 and $300,000, and those with image intensifiers can be between $120,000 and $170,000, according to MD Buyline. There are many features to choose from and the issue of radiation dose must be kept in mind. The service that comes along with the system is also something important to think about.
Many vendors, including GE Healthcare and Siemens Healthcare, aim to be a complete solution for all of a hospital’s needs. Gustavo Perez-Fernandez, the president of surgery at GE, and Lisa Reid, director of the surgery and urology segments at Siemens Healthcare, spoke with HealthCare Business News about the questions a hospital should keep in mind when purchasing a new C-arm.
HCB News: When a hospital is purchasing a new C-arm, what questions must be asked?
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That really depends on the specific clinical needs and financial situation of the facility. Once you gather that information, you can analyze the individual needs and challenges of the customer, and provide options to satisfy what’s needed. We believe that hospitals should not invest in technology for the sake of technology, especially when certain functionality and features are not needed. At GE, our team is composed of registered radiology technologists that understand our customers’ needs and can help them determine the best solution. We consider factors like the number of operating rooms they have to accommodate, the volume and diversity of cases and budget. Based on all of that information, we build a tailored solution for the hospital.
When you look at C-arms, most companies have over three different models. While they all pretty much do the same things, of course, some perform different procedures better. One of the things I would think would be important is what types of surgery procedures they are doing. If it’s mostly orthopedic types of procedures, then they should consider a smaller C-arm. You don’t quite need as much power because you’re not X-raying soft tissue. If they are doing a lot of vascular, gastrointestinal and urology procedures then they might want a bigger, more powerful type of C-arm. They should make sure that they are getting the right kind of C-arms for the procedures they are performing.
HCB News: What are some ways a hospital can cut costs when purchasing a new C-arm?
On one side, it’s ensuring that they have enough versatility in the solutions they are looking to purchase to satisfy the specific clinical task, but it’s also important to make sure the technology accommodates their case mix. By encouraging them to take a close look at their broad mix of cases, it’s important to ensure a level of standardization exists that allows the hospital to achieve economies of scale on supporting the infrastructure. Examples of that include training for the technologists, the cost of running the operation and familiarity with the ergonomics. The two areas that we think hospitals should look at are having solutions that are versatile, but also achieving a level of standardization within their flee