Hmm… how can I stress the importance of your system accessories when you place a call for imaging equipment service? Alright, maybe I’m dating myself, but who remembers the 1990 Roberts/Bacon/Sutherland blockbuster, “Flatliners”? If you don’t: spoiler alert!
Basically, the star-studded cast of heroes would temporarily flatline their vital signs to discover what’s on the “other side” of death. Their friends would then bring them back to consciousness with the tools they had in their impromptu laboratory. Fortunately, these fictional characters had everything they needed to bring the person back quickly and safely right at their fingertips. They were prepared.
This is the same principle when your medical imaging unit “flatlines” in real life. Don’t be caught without the proper tools, or it could cost you time, money, or referrals. Here are a few tips to consider when it comes to “life-saving” resources for your equipment.
Backup Software and other disks – a reset for your system’s vitals
In the event of software corruption or hard drive failure, software is essential to restoring the baseline functions of your medical imaging system. Without it your facility will struggle through the expensive and frustrating process of purchasing new disks, waiting for them to arrive, and scheduling a second trip for your service engineer because the proper system accessories were missing when he arrived.
Make sure that your staff is labeling the software and backup disks that go with the equipment and storing them in the same room so they are easily accessible. A rule of thumb: the software never leaves the room the unit is in. There really shouldn’t be any reason that it would. This way everyone knows where the resources for the unit are located when a crash occurs.
Manuals- the road map to your equipment
Manuals are essentially the road map to your equipment. These should also always be stored in the room with the unit, labeled and never removed from the equipment’s side (See a pattern forming here?). When an error pops up the manuals will often provide the information needed to clear the error quickly and, hopefully, easily. These documents are a great way to resolve problems caused by simple user error.
Phantoms- and we ain’t talkin’ ghosts
Phantoms are those clear or white acrylic objects that come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Despite what their shape and composition may suggest, they are not paperweights, doorstops, or table levelers. Phantoms are used in place of human body parts to provide sample data for equipment QA tests. Like the other items discussed, these also need to be in the same room with the unit, labeled, and never removed for any reason (If you don’t see the pattern now, you may be in the wrong business). These will be used after your unit is brought back to life in order to run tests and make sure it is operating correctly and effectively.
All of these resources are very expensive and, if lost, could cost your site thousands of dollars to replace. Software, manuals, and phantoms are all vital to your equipment in a “life threatening” crash. If a service engineer is called in and some or all of these items are missing, count on your system to be on the “other side” for at least a few days. We suggest you put clear rules in place for the storage of these resources. This way, everyone on your staff is on the same page when it’s time for medical imaging equipment triage.