Eying MR downtime and efficiency with remote monitoring

Eying MR downtime and efficiency with remote monitoring

por John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | October 21, 2019
From the October 2019 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Risks to be on the lookout for
Whereas scheduled on-site visits to check on MR systems is the norm of traditional maintenance management, scanner performance today can be checked daily from remote locations by personnel, who can alert providers via email, text or phone to an issue in real time.

“Beyond basic magnet remote monitoring, our system can extract error messages from the host computer for remote review by service engineers,” said Kishore Mogatadakala, president of DI Insights. “This eliminates the need for unnecessary trips by the service engineer to the sites for troubleshooting basic system-related problems.”

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The causes of these issues can range from halts in chiller water flow to power outages. The loss of power during disasters, for instance, can lead cooling systems to shut down, allowing liquid helium to convert into a gas and increase pressure in the magnet. This causes a pressure relief valve to open for the gas to escape.

Remote monitoring can keep track of many components, from chiller water flow to coil performance.
Environmental factors such as room temperature, humidity and atmospheric pressure are also concerns to look out for, as are incorrect signal-to-noise ratios for the performance of surface coils.

“From a magnet performance perspective, we can remotely monitor for helium boil-off and detect occurrences that would impact the ability for the cold head/compressor to keep the magnet cool,” said Daniel Bellinger, global MR remote service manager for GE Healthcare. “From a system performance perspective, we can detect emerging issues with coil performance, environmental factors that can impact system performance and/or patient comfort, and scan room noise that can impact image quality.”

Properly addressing these situations means knowing which ones require immediate attention, and which can wait, according to Weems. “Immediate scenarios are ones where we’re working with the customer to resolve issues before anything catastrophic happens. But then there are some things the program picks up on that may not be an imminent catastrophic event but something we can schedule to fix during a customer’s off hours.”

Onno Bense, remote manager for the global operations team for service and solutions at Philips, says it is essential to validate that alerts are highly reliable. “We’re seeing an increasing shift from reactive to proactive maintenance, leading to a reduction of unscheduled downtime, maximizing system uptime and availability. It is very important that we don’t have false alerts, which is why we’ve developed platforms and models for proactive monitoring with high reliability.”

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