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The Best CT Scanner for Low-Volume Facilities

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There’s a lot of talk about “patient volume” and “system throughput” in the CT scanner world, and rightfully so. After all, the kind of efficiency these terms refer to improves patient service, physician workflow, and the financial bottom line of a practice. But, most of the talk revolves around high-volume facilities. What if your patient schedule isn’t exactly bursting at the seams? What if you only plan to do a handful of scans a day? Which CT scanner is the best for low-volume facilities?

Our Pick

For our money, the best choice for a site doing fewer than 10 patient scans per day is a refurbished GE Lightspeed 16 or Brightspeed 16.There are certainly other systems that can meet the needs of a low-volume facility, but in terms of balancing cost and capability, the Lightspeed and Brightspeed 16 are compelling in several ways

5 Reasons Why

  • 16-slice CT is the standard for care. Far be it from us to suggest you “keep up with the Joneses,” but there’s also something to be said for not being left behind entirely.
  • Low-volume facilities can save by purchasing systems with smaller X-ray tubes. The Lightspeed comes in a version with an 8.0 MHU tube, but we generally recommend the Brightspeed or Lightspeed with a 6.3 MHU MX200 tube. In some cases, a BrightSpeed with 3.5 MHU tube (Select) can be sufficient.  
  • Prices have come down on 16-slice technology, especially when you begin considering refurbished units. The price differential between a 16-slice system and, say, a 4-slice system is not as broad as it used to be. For not that much more you can have a newer, faster system with more capabilities.This also gives you some flexibility if your volume scenario ever changes.
  • GE has the lowest-priced service and parts options. With GE’s sizable market share, GE-trained engineers are more common and replacement parts are more plentiful. This keeps parts and service more affordable.
  • Lower slice-count systems are becoming scarcer. A 4-slice system could be a viable alternative to the LS 16, but as these systems age, they are harder to find on the market and so are their replacement parts.

If You Prefer Other Manufacturers

While our top picks for low-volume CT facilities come from GE, there are also solid options from other OEMs. If you don't prefer GE, comparable models would be a Siemens Emotion 16 or Scope, or a Toshiba Aquilion 16. Choosing one of these systems doesn't offer the same service ease and cost savings as GE scanners, but availability from Siemens and Toshiba is still fairly strong.

If You Prefer Something Newer

If you’re looking for something newer than a LightSpeed or BrightSpeed 16, then you could consider a GE Optima 520 or 540.  Whatever you choose, know that 16 slice scanners are still being manufactured and installed by every OEM, so the technology and diagnostic ability remains relevant.

The Next Step

As we said earlier, the Lightspeed 16 and Brightspeed 16 aren't the only systems that can fit the bill for a low-volume setting, but they certainly do so very well. Choosing the best fit for you is a process that we’re happy to help with however we can. If you want to learn more about the these or other CT scanner models, feel free to contact us or explore some of our free CT resources.

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