Competitive pressure in the world of MRI is at an all-time high. Reimbursements aren’t getting any better, yet the market demands high-quality images and efficient throughput. Not just any old magnet will do either. Most insurance payers require MRI scanners to be accredited through the American College of Radiology (ACR), which maintains strict guidelines for image quality. For most facilities, the days of "prestige buying" are long gone, and new value-based purchasing initiatives have patients shopping MRI providers from a much more holistic perspective than simply seeking the latest and greatest from the top OEMs.
Amid the pressure, however, there is some good news for facilities that own and operate GE MRI scanners: You may be able to upgrade your MRI capabilities without having to purchase an entirely new scanner. Below, we'll share with you how your GE MRI system could be upgraded to improve quality and meet demand with lower costs and less downtime.
The Magnet in the Middle
Underneath the pristine blue and white plastic exterior of most GE MRI scanners sits a CXK4 magnet to generate the magnetic field and a big steel drum full of helium keeping that CXK4 cool. Neither of these items is particular about which electronics and gradients are nestled in there with them. Essentially, the "guts" of a more advanced system are probably already living in your existing GE MRI scanner. This is good news for anyone interested in upgrading!
What's in an upgrade?
If you have an older GE CXK4 MRI system, we can offer a turnkey field upgrade from 9x to 23x platforms- or any level in between. An upgrade of this kind keeps your magnet and its cooling system and improves the scanner in other ways.
This isn't to say that an upgrade doesn't replace anything in your scan suite, but the movement will be much less involved. Components used in upgrading your existing system can include:
- New coils (while keeping your old ones)
- New gradient cabinets
- New RF system
- New computer console
Another piece of the upgrade process is possible applications training. New hardware and software can often come with a learning curve and/or the need to reset or establish new protocols on the system.
Upgrading without replacing your magnet reduces the downtime involved from about a month to just five days, and all but eliminates construction costs. Keeping the magnet in place prevents the need for removing external walls, windows, or landscaping installations, and for replacing RF shielding inside the wall. In terms of equipment costs, most facilities can save about $150,000 when they choose to keep their magnet.
There's really only one big takeaway in this scenario: You can improve your MRI capabilities dramatically without tearing up your building, losing a whole month of scanning, or spending half a million dollars! Prices vary significantly, depending upon which upgrade path you choose, but there are time, money, and hassle savings to be had.
If you're considering an upgrade for your GE MRI scanner but the cost of a complete magnet swap (and everything that goes with it) seems daunting, our team is ready to help make the process simpler and the costs lower. Use the button below to tell us about your project and start the conversation.